The government peace panel negotiating with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has expressed disappointment over the decision of communist rebels to cut short the ceasefire they earlier declared with state security forces.
In a statement, the panel said it was “unfortunate” that the CPP seemed more “interested in looking for excuses to resume violence than it was to seek peace.”
It branded as “false claim” the communist insurgents’ explanation that they decided to call off the truce with the government after the Aquino administration supposedly failed to act on CPP’s offer to extend the ceasefire until Jan. 15.
The panel said no less than Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Deles issued a statement last Dec. 20 “affirming the extended ceasefire declaration.”
It added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police also affirmed the extension of the truce with the CPP-led New People’s Army (NPA).
“This is a false claim as shown by the explicit provision of the press communique issued by the Norwegian facilitator, the statement of Secretary Deles … and the procedural processes undertaken by the security forces,” the government peace panel said.
It added: “The said announcement was in keeping with the official communication of the (Philippine government) to the Norwegian facilitator sent during the holiday break that reiterated our assurances of the announcement of the extension of the Somo (suspension of military operations) and Sopo (suspension of police operations)…”
The panel also assailed the CPP’s “excuse” that it decided to end the truce so as not to put the NPA rebels “in an unduly disadvantaged position,” noting that the government security forces did not conduct any offensive actions against communist insurgents since the government declared a ceasefire.
It said this was “a clear manifestation of our commitment to honor the ceasefire agreement.”
Despite the CPP’s decision to terminate the truce, the panel said the Aquino administration would still honor the ceasefire agreement it had with the National Democratic Front, the CPP’s political arm, from Dec. 20, 2012, until Jan. 15.
“Our security forces will maintain its unilateral declaration of Somo and Sopo, despite the CPP’s termination, and will stand ready to defend and protect our people,” the panel stressed.