PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has announced the end of the government’s ceasefire with the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the aftermath of a series of armed clashes in the past weeks.
The announcement came after the NPA announced last Wednesday that it will withdraw its own ceasefire.
“Kagabi, I decided ni-lift ko yung ceasefire,” Duterte said while in North Cotabato, citing “communists’ unreasonable demands.”
“I went out of my way to release as much as mga leader nila nasa Oslo, para lang makipag-usap. Now there is this demand na irelease ko yung 400 [political prisoners] e ‘di parang nag-grant na ako ng amnesty niyan,” said Duterte.
“I do not own the Republic of the Philippines. I do not decide alone. I consult people particularly military,” Duterte added.
Duterte lamented that peace with communist rebels may not be happening anytime soon.
“Peace with the communist cannot be realized during our generation,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously said the communist guerrillas’ termination of its ceasefire declaration almost has no bearing since “they have not stopped extorting under the guise of their so-called revolutionary taxation, went on recruiting, burning buses and equipment, ambushing and kidnapping soldiers.”
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza however maintained that the government should hold its ceasefire with the NPA as an act of goodwill for the ongoing talks.
A bilateral ceasefire between the two parties would have set guidelines and protocols for both sides.
Communist rebels had repeatedly accused the military of abuses, such as encroaching on civilian facilities and rebel-held areas.