No holiday truce with NPA rebels, Palace insists
With Christmas less than a week away, Malacañang is standing pat on its decision not to declare a holiday truce with the communist insurgents.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte had not changed his mind about the defense department’s recommendation not to reciprocate the New People’s Army (NPA) truce declaration.
“No, no word from him [President Duterte]. The recommendation of the defense secretary [Delfin Lorenzana] still stands—not to declare a truce,” Panelo said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed Panelo’s statement, saying the President would not declare a truce.
Lorenzana earlier said that the communist rebels would only use the ceasefire to strengthen their ranks ahead of their 50th anniversary on Dec. 26.
Solidarity with the people
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has said the NPA’s observance of a unilateral ceasefire is in solidarity with the people during the holiday season.
Last month, the President dashed all hopes for a possible revival of peace negotiations with the insurgents.
Saying the NPA showed bad faith by continuing to attack soldiers and policemen, the President issued Proclamation No. 360 last year terminating peace talks and declaring the CPP and the NPA terrorist groups.
He also ordered government troops to launch an all-out offensive against the insurgents.
Panelo said the President had not issued any decision on a cessation of hostilities with the NPA.
“No decision on that. The declaration is Jan. 2, that it’s not a working day. So you’re free to extend your holidays,” he said, referring to Memorandum Circular No. 54 on the work suspension in government offices.
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