LUCENA CITY—After President Aquino belatedly approved the proposed extension of Christmas ceasefire up to January 15, the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines recommended to the Communist Party of the Philippines to also declare the extension of its own truce period.
“In view of the belated decision of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) as contained in the letter of endorsement of GPH Secretary of Defense Voltaire Gazmin dated January 1, 2013 and approved by GPH President Aquino on January 2, 2013 to extend the AFP Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) up to January 15, 2013, we in the NDFP Negotiating Panel recommend that the CPP Central Committee also extend the ceasefire of the New People’s Army up to January 15, 2013 so that it will be in sync with GPH extension of the SOMO,” Luis Jalandoni, NDFP peace panel chairperson, said in a letter to the CPP-Central Committee, a copy of which was sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Jalandoni said Aquino’s decision to extend the holiday truce “is indeed very belated and should have been done much earlier, reasonably within the week” after the December 18 meeting of the government and NDF representatives in The Hague, The Netherlands.
“However, for the purposes stated in your ceasefire declaration of December 20, 2012 and to have a synchronized ceasefire up to January 15, 2013 for the benefit of the people and for the sake of moving forward the special track and the regular track of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, we in the NDFP Negotiating Panel recommend that you still declare the extension of the CPP-NPA ceasefire until January 15, 2013,” Jalandoni told the CPP-CC in his letter.
Jalandoni forwarded to the CPP-CC a scanned copy of Gazmin’s letter to Aquino proposing the extension of the SOMO up to Jan 15. The letter contained the signature of the President signifying his approval.
Jalandoni also sent a scanned copy of the memorandum of Philippine National Police director general Allan Purisima to all policemen in the country to also extend the suspension of offensive police operations against communist rebels until Jan 15.
The NDFP head said the copies of Gazmin’s letter to Aquino and Purisima’s memorandum order were sent to the NDF by Royal Norwegian Ambassador Ture Lundh who has been serving as mediators to the government and communist group.
On Wednesday, the CPP cut short of its 27-day Christmas ceasefire originally intended to end Jan 15. It ordered the NPA resume attacks against government forces starting Wednesday midnight.
The CPP blamed President Aquino for his failure to issue an order reciprocating the rebels’ gesture for a longer cessation of hostilities in compliance with the agreement signed last December 17-18 at a meeting in The Hague, The Netherlands by the government and NDFP representatives.
Later in the afternoon, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared the extension of its unilateral ceasefire – originally scheduled from Dec. 16 to Jan 2 – up to Jan 15.