THERE will no longer be any holiday ceasefire between the military and the communist insurgents for the remainder of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
The President announced this in his weekly public address on Monday evening, December 7, 2020.
"There will be no ceasefire ever again under my term, term ko sa pagka-presidente. For all intents and purposes, 'yung ceasefire is dead. Wala na 'yun, matagal na 'yun," he said.
The Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP), which earlier recommended against a ceasefire with the communist New People’s Army (NPA), was elated by the President’s decision.
"We are thankful to the Commander-in-Chief for heeding the AFP’s recommendation not to declare ceasefire this holiday season and beyond—not because we do not want peace, but because what we advocate is a genuine and lasting peace that we cannot achieve through a peace pact with the NPA that is notoriously insincere and unworthy of public trust," AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Debold Sinas also expressed support for the President’s decision.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, said the government has been awakened. Not declaring a holiday truce is long overdue, he said.
"That kind of government attitude towards ceasefire is long overdue. The government has finally awakened from deep slumber characterized by deceitful means employed by the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front)," Dela Rosa said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is also a former PNP chief, said a localized ceasefire may still be considered.
"Since peace talks are now localized, a ceasefire with the NPA rebels is better discussed at the local level as well, probably on a case-to-case basis," he said.
"Rebels who may wish to lay down their arms but wouldn't know how to go about it could find confidence to do so if a localized ceasefire is in force," Lacson added. (SunStar Philippines)