Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that there won’t be a ceasefire “ever again” with the armed rebels under his term, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced Wednesday it will continue its attacks against the military even during the holidays.
In a statement, the CPP ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to actively defend themselves against military attacks and to “frustrate the enemy’s armed offensives and plans to terrorize the masses” over the Yuletide season.
“In the face of the vicious attacks by Duterte’s military and police forces both in the cities and countryside, the CPP Central Committee is forced to dispense with the traditional holiday ceasefire this year,” the group said.
“They can carry out tactical offensives against attacking troops of the enemy, particularly those who have perpetrated massacres and extrajudicial killings and who are notorious for grave abuses and violations of human rights,” the CPP added.
The group also urged armed rebels and mass organizations “to carry out secret meetings and assemblies to mark the upcoming 52nd anniversary of the Party wherever and whenever possible.”
The announcement came after Duterte himself declared that there will be no ceasefire with the insurgents “for all intents and purposes,” as he claimed that all communists are “bad” and “criminals” who are conspiring to overthrow the government.
“The ceasefire is dead. It’s gone,” he said in a public address that aired on December 7.
The CPP, in its recent statement, accused Duterte of ignoring appeals for a truce, noting “night-time barging in of armed soldiers into their homes, from the intimidation and threats to force the masses to ‘surrender’ from the massacres, killings, abductions, arrests and torture, the bombings and the portending fly overs of drones.”
Following the CPP’s declaration, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon assured the public that the security forces will be on “red alert” and will prepare to respond to attacks of the communist movement that will mark its 52nd anniversary on December 26.
“Kung walang ceasefire pronouncement or declaration, talagang naka-red alert ang Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police,” he said in a televised briefing.
“Kung meron silang gagawing kaguluhan ay nakahanda ang ating tropa,” Esperon added.
The government declared a ceasefire with the Reds last March at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, citing the need to focus resources in addressing the pandemic. Communist rebels reciprocated the truce, heeding the call of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic.
The truce, however, ended in April as both sides accused each other anew of ceasefire violations.
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