Joma confident NPA Yuletide ceasefire will hold
LUCENA CITY – Top rebel leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is confident that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) unilateral five-day holiday ceasefire will be fully observed without troubles from attacks by government forces.
“I think that the unilateral ceasefire will proceed and end according to schedule because the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), PNP (Philippines National Police) and the paramilitary forces have only a small amount of strength,” Sison, the CPP founder, said in an online interview from Utrecht in the Netherlands on Saturday.
He belittled the capability of state security forces to disrupt the ceasefire particularly the 50th CPP founding anniversary celebration on Dec. 26.
“At any given time, they (government forces) can cover only a few thousand barangays out of tens of thousands of barangays (more than 40,000),” Sison said.
He cited the vast space in the countryside, in the mountains and communities under the control and influence of the revolutionary movement “for the New People’s Army (NPA) to maneuver and outmaneuver its enemy.”
Sison said the NPA wants to demonstrate its strength by celebrating the CPP anniversary “even if the enemy is engaged in all-out war so-called.”
“At the same time, it is alert and ready to go into active defense and even counter-offensive if necessary to frustrate and defeat any enemy offensive that comes too close to any NPA position,” Sison said.
On Friday, the CPP declared its two-part unilateral Yuletide ceasefire that will take effect at midnight of Dec. 24, to end at midnight of Dec. 26 and at midnight of Dec. 31, end at midnight of Jan. 1, 2019.
However, the CPP warned that the ceasefire “can be cut short or canceled if AFP military offensives, armed suppression against communities and attacks against activists by the Duterte regime worsen in the next few days and weeks.”
“On the other hand, it can also be extended by a few days if positive conditions arise,” the CPP added.
The government has yet to decide whether or not it would observe a holiday truce with the communist rebels.
But the military establishment has already turned down any suspension of military operations during the holidays.