MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced that the ceasefire order for the New People’s Army (NPA) would end on Thursday, despite calls from left-leaning lawmakers and the United Nations (UN) for a “humanitarian pause.”
According to CPP, the NPA must shift from a “defensive posture” to an offensive one, to prepare to strike units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other civilian auxiliaries.
The communist rebels accused the government forces of not respecting its ceasefire declaration to the COVID-19 pandemic after several skirmishes despite both parties vowing to stop hostilities to focus on solving the health problem.
“The refusal of the Duterte regime to relent in its attacks against the NPA, despite calls for a ‘global ceasefire,’ has made the further extension of the NPA ceasefire impossible,” CPP said in a statement.
“Since [President Rodrigo] Duterte called for a ceasefire on March 16, AFP counterinsurgency operations remain unabated, deploying its units in at least 396 villages in 148 towns, ceaselessly conducting combat operations, aerial bombardments and artillery shelling, aerial surveillance and ground intelligence operations, arresting civilians, and violating people’s rights with impunity,” they added.
Recently, Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list asked both government forces and the rebels to heed the UN call to stop attacks while health authorities are still trying to solve the COVID-19 problem.
Zarate reasoned out that the Philippine government, as a UN member, should back the call, while CPP-NPA should also accede the request as they have done previously.
READ: Solon urges gov’t, rebels to back UN call for ‘humanitarian pause’ during pandemic
In one of his press briefings, President Duterte announced a ceasefire on the government forces’ side as military and police units were called to man quarantine control points during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and other areas.
CPP implemented its own ceasefire last March 26 and was scheduled to last until April 15. They also extended the ceasefire until April 30 after the national government extended the ECQ.
However, after Thursday, several areas, including Metro Manila and Region IV-A, will still be under the ECQ due to high COVID-19 cases in the areas.
READ: CPP announces ceasefire from March 26 to April 15 due to COVID-19 pandemic
READ: CPP extends ceasefire, orders NPA units to stand down for 15 more days
President Rodrigo Duterte previously threatened to place the country under a martial law rule if the NPA attacks do not stop. He also said that even after the pandemic, he would not sit down with the rebels for peace talks.
READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law, condemns Reds’ atrocities
The Commission on Human Rights slammed CPP-NPA for not following its own ceasefire regulations but eventually vowed to probe the recent incidents between the government and the communist rebels after it admitted some information about the battles are ‘confusing’ and contradicting.
READ: Reds condemn Duterte threat to declare martial law anew
READ: CHR probes NPA-military skirmishes amid ceasefire declarations
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