DECEMBER 23, 2019 TO JANUARY 7, 2020
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Guns in the anti-insurgency campaign will be silent starting midnight today, as President Rodrigo Duterte declared a 15-day ceasefire with communist rebels.
Duterte on Sunday approved the recommendation of the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP) for the nationwide Yuletide ceasefire.
Communist rebels are also expected to abide with the truce recommended in a Joint Statement signed by government chief negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, authorized state negotiator Hernani Braganza, NDFP negotiating panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni, and NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili.
The ceasefire will be implemented nationwide from midnight of Dec. 23, 2019, to 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 7, 2020.
“The Palace hereby announces that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has directed the declaration of a unilateral and reciprocal ceasefire with the coalition of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF),” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued on Sunday night.
Panelo said Duterte had instructed the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, “to issue an official declaration therefor and communicate the directive for a national armistice with the CPP-NPA-NDF to their respective agents and armed units for due observance during the period.”
“With the undertaking of these confidence-building measures — a reflection of the seriousness and commitment of the GRP, as well as a mark of goodwill on the part of the Commander-in-Chief — the Office of the President looks forward to the possible resumption of peace talks with the NDF, achieve accord with the whole coalition and ultimately, attain a lasting peace among the citizenry of our country,” Panelo said. Duterte last week said he plans to resume peace talks with exiled Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has engaged an insurgency war against the government for decades.
“The President wishes that all Filipinos enjoy quietude and serenity as they celebrate the Holiday Season with their loved ones free from violence or any form of disruption,” he added.