By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — A Yuletide ceasefire will be in effect between the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Philippine government.
Combatants from both parties and the Filipino people were assured of the holiday truce after President Duterte reciprocated the pronouncement made by the CPP earlier today, December 22.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that President Duterte has instructed the military and police to issue ceasefire orders. According to him, the president also reconstituted the government’s negotiating panel to include Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The communist leadership directed all NPA units and people’s militias to be on defensive mode. It also forbade them to undertake military offensive against government forces.
The CPP noted that the ceasefire “shall take effect upon issuance of the corresponding and reciprocal ceasefire orders in the form of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) to be issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).”
Besides the observance of the Yuletide Season, the ceasefire serves as “goodwill and confidence-building measure” for the possible resumption of the formal peace talks both parties said.
Peace negotiators from the GRP and NDFP on December 21 recommended a nationwide ceasefire as part of goodwill and confidence building measure for the resumption of the peace talks. Also, 131 solons supported a resolution in the House of Representatives, urging the government to resume the negotiations with the communist rebels.
President Duterte unilaterally terminated the talks in November 2017 through the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 360. The following month, the president signed Proclamation No. 374, designating the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations. Finally, in March this year, he announced the dissolution of the government peace panel. # nordis.net