President Duterte declares ceasefire with the left in his SONA

  • President Duterte declares a ceasefire with the National Democratic Front
  • The ceasefire is unilateral in nature, meaning it is only on the part of the government
  • Duterte urged the progressive movement to follow their lead in the interest of the peace talks

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a ceasefire for the part of the government against the revolutionary left movement during his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 25.

“To immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities and provide an enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace talks, I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)/NPA (New People’s Army)/NDF (National Democratic Front) effective immediately and call on our fellow Filipinos in the National Democratic Front and its forces to respond accordingly,” he said.

The President, who initiated talks with the progressive National Democratic Front before formally assuming his post, vowed that there would be “lasting peace” before his term ends.

The talks with the NDF was set to resume by the third week of July but the government wants it to be after Duterte’s first SONA.

A self-confessed leftist, Duterte has appointed four members of activist groups as his cabinet secretaries.

Aside from the NDF, he also urged the Moro rebels in Mindanao to stop the cycle of violence that persists between them and the Philippine army.

“We express our willingness and readiness to go to the negotiating table, and yet we load our guns, fix our sights, pull the trigger. It is both ironic and tragic–and it is endless,” he said.

And added: “What I see instead are the widows and the orphans and I feel their pain and grief. And no amount of cash assistance or the number of medals can compensate the loss of a human life. Sorrow cuts across every stratum of society. It cuts deeply and the pain lasts forever.”

The first Mindanaoan president has previously met with leaders the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Both armed rebels of the south expressed their support for the Duterte administration.