Gov’t, rebels blame each other for breaking holiday truce



Secretary Edwin Lacierda said the rebels probably found that an extended ceasefire would be “detrimental” to them so they chose to cut it short and blame the government. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Communist insurgents on Wednesday called off a truce with the government, almost two weeks ahead of its proposed end, raising concerns about the future of the peace talks between the two sides.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) blamed the government for the collapse of the holiday truce, saying that President Aquino had failed to issue an order reciprocating their offer to extend the ceasefire to Jan.15.  It also accused the military of not observing the truce and pointed to the arrest of seven suspected rebels during the ceasefire.

A CPP statement said “The ceasefire has been cut short and will end today (Jan. 2) at 12 midnight.”

Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, on the other hand, said the CPP’s accusation was baseless, stressing that the government sincerely intended to honor the ceasefire until Jan. 15, as it announced on its website.

Secretary Lacierda said the rebels probably found that an extended ceasefire would be “detrimental” to them so they chose to cut it short and blame the government.

Southern Philippines military spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza accused the CPP’s military arm, the New People’s Army, of violating the ceasefire on Monday and Tuesday when guerillas reportedly descended on villages in the outskirts of Davao City and briefly held two government militiamen and three civilians hostage.

Rebel and government representatives agreed on a ceasefire from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15 in a meeting in The Hague in the Netherlands. The “rebel” group also declared a truce in areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo until Jan. 3, while the military declared a holiday ceasefire from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2.

Intent to respect


“In so far as the government is concerned, we have honored the ceasefire,” Lacierda said. He pointed out that Secretary Ronald Llamas and Undersecretary Alex Padilla signed the joint statement with the CPP panel in The Hague to show the government’s intent to respect the truce.

“The AFP was informed of the ceasefire so there was no reason for it to allege that in the absence of a presidential directive, we did not honor the ceasefire. In fact, we did,” he said.

“We relayed it to the AFP, we relayed it to the media, [and] we relayed it to the public. That is the extent of our sincerity. We had no reason not to honor the ceasefire,” he said.

Making excuses


Lacierda said the rebel group had always made excuses to avoid resuming the peace talks with the government, and this could be one.

“Now they’re coming up with other stumbling blocks to peace,” he said.

But Marco Valbuena, spokesperson for the CPP, said the rebel forces had reason to doubt the government’s sincerity.

“The Aquino regime’s nonadherence to the temporary ceasefire agreement is a serious act of contempt against the peace negotiations supported and facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government,” Valbuena said.

He said the failure of the ceasefire also “casts doubt on the authority and status of his special representatives and negotiating panel—Llamas and Padilla.

“Over the past two weeks, there has been practically no ceasefire on the part of the AFP as it continued to carry out military operations against suspected revolutionaries and communities suspected of being active in the revolutionary struggle,” he said, citing the “nonremoval of so-called ‘peace and development teams’ deployed to rural communities” and the setting up of more checkpoints “to restrict the people’s movements, especially before and after the CPP’s 44th anniversary on Dec. 26 to prevent people from attending assemblies and (putting under surveillance) those coming from the activities.”

“The AFP also arrested at least seven persons during its own ceasefire period, including five farmers on Dec. 21 in Mulanay, Quezon. On Dec. 25, the AFP arrested Filemon Mendrez in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental. The military likewise arrested on Dec. 28 Rene Esmondo Abiva in Bagumbayan, Tuguegarao City. The AFP claimed Mendez and Abiva were leaders of the revolutionary movement,” Valbuena said.

Just a day before the ceasefire collapsed, the government’s chief peace negotiator said he was confident about the resumption of the peace process, citing the successful holiday truce.

Valbuena, however, said that because the CPP doubted the government’s sincerity, Padilla’s optimism on the resumption of the talks may not happen any time soon. TJ Burgonio, Germelina Lacorte and Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao; and AFP

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  • DonQuixoteDeRizal

    Frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind this truce as if war is like basketball game with time out.

    War is serious business and if both combatants are willing to have truce during Christmas season why not make it permanent truce?

    Do you think Jesus will be happy with temporary truce? I don’t think so. 

    Come on Comrades-in-the-Mountain, be done with it. Go home. Let’s have peace in our land.

    May we have prosperous new year!

    • marco antonio perez

      simulated skirmishes intended to step up the ranks within the army.  one good thing, it toughens up the army, side effect, selling of military weapons to the rebels, corruption rotting from within.

  • $53950194

    Rebels:  ‘Pare time out muna away natin ha?  Kasi uuwi kami sa aming mga pamilya para sa pasko

    PH Govt:  Aba magandang ideya ‘ata yan.  Sige pagpaliban muna natin ating labanan at bakbakan at barilan para makapag pamasko din kami.  happy new year narin sa inyo Pre.  God Bless & Take care

  • marco antonio perez

    Gov’t, rebels blame each other for breaking holiday truce

    -what do you expect, they are rebels after all.

  • kipbuts

    The CPP/NPA/NDF at all times can never be trusted. PPW-people’s protracted war includes propaganda which actually lying and TO-tactical offensive like ambuscades and other forms of cold-blooded killings are among the potent modus vivendi of anti-government such as the communist armed opposition lead by former couples:landlord, priest and now, Dutch citizen, Luis and Connie Jalandoni and  Prof. and Mrs. Jose Maria Sison now residing in the city of Utrecht, The Nederlands.

  • arao_liwanag

    Number one violator of ceasefire and other agreement: AFP and the Government.

  • Jimmy

    Hulihin at ikulong ang lahat ng komunista sa Pinas..! Yang mga CPP-NDF ang pampagulo sa kabuhayan at kapayapaan ng sambayanang Pilipino..!

  • WAJ

    Rebels are enemy of the state, no holiday truce, cease fire, or any agreement should be given to them. 

  • XY ZEE

    Sisihan nanaman?
    Di na ba mauubusan ng masisisihan ang gobyernong ito?

  • Grin Olsson

     The CCP has announced they have received new weaponry and other supplies which could only have come from China. The Coast Guard should be intensely monitoring ships that are stationery out at sea where weapons can be taken to Luzon via smaller Filipino vessels. Once a ship is determined smuggling arms into create civil war and murder Filipinos that ship should be bombed by the air force. With respect to negotiations with CCP the Filipino military if it doesn’t already have them in their arsenal should secure some BLU-82’s (Napalm explosions that take out a football field) and obliterate any and all suspected CCP military sites. Use the bigger bombs.

    Another issue is that the CCP is a fifth column for Chinese expansion into the Philippines. It was no error for the Chinese to suggest that the Philippines is part of China. Nor are the recent threats from China that suggest a response regarding Scarborough Shoals could be an invasion of the Philippines itself.

    These are scare tactics but also with a thread of factual intent. The Philippines can not defend islands and shoals outside of the 200 mile economic zone. However, with the Filipino 200 helicopter armada it can send helicopters with spotlights 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the shoals for deployment of a small detachment of Marines and supplies. The PCG ships that have helipads can be station for emergencies half way between Luzon and the shoals but out of target range of the Chinese navy. If the Chinese were to attach a small detachment of Filipino marines – a new detachment can be redeployed within minutes. If the Chinese position troops on Scarborough Shoals, the island is too small for more than a detachment and can not be defended. This is the worse case senario of the Philippines is placed in a position to sacrifice its men and women to defend Filipino soil. The Scarborough shoals can be defended and sovereignty retained. However some occupied islands outside of the 200 mile economic zone should be evacuated before the Chinese threats become an attack. Not to do otherwise is to place these people’s lives in jeopardy when in fact the Philippines has been given notice.

    The Scarborough shoals can be used to monitor all US and Filipino shipping as well as target Manila in a future conflict therefore it is crucial to the Philippines. The communists (CCP) on the other hand may very well be a 5th column ready to overthrow or counter attack – the Philippines indirectly on behalf of the Chinese – so the negotiations are over? Then let’s annihilate them before they become our Achilles heel. 

  • Edgardo Mendoza

    bakit itong mga rebeldeng ito ay di nalang mag alaga ng baboy!! at yung pinuno nila nag papasarap lang sa ibang bansa mabuti pa ang mga taga north korea nag tatanim ng mais itong mga ito pumapatay ng inosente!! bantayan dapat ng navy ang dagat baka mag puslit ng armas yan!! baka kasabwat pa niyan ang china kaya nagiging magulo tayo parte daw tayo ng china wala kalayaan dun mas gus2 ko d2 sa pinas!! yun nga lang ginugulo tayo ng mamatay tao”

  • disqusted0fu

    The president has yet again failed on doing something. He must have forgotten that while he was vacationing in Baguio.

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