Gov’t, NDFP agree to recommend holiday ceasefire
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have agreed to recommend a Christmas holiday ceasefire.
In a joint statement shared on social media by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison, the recommended unilateral and reciprocal nationwide ceasefire will be from Dec. 23 to Jan. 7, 2020.
The parties shall separately issue the corresponding ceasefire orders.
The respective armed units and personnel are expected to “cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the other.”
The joint statement was signed on Dec. 21 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The signatories for the Philippine government were: Labor Sec. Bello, and Hernani Braganza, former secretary and authorized negotiator.
From the NDFP side were chairperson Fidel Agcaoili and negotiating panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni.
“The ceasefires are intended to generate a positive environment conducive to the holding of informal talks preparatory to the formal meeting to resume the peace negotiations,” the joint statement read.
President Rodrigo Duterte sent government peace panel chief negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to the Netherlands early this month to talk to Sison in a bid to resume peace talks.
In March, Duterte announced the “permanent termination” of peace talks between the government and communist rebels to pave the way for localized peace talks.
Both Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. earlier said that they will not recommend a ceasefire on the government side for the holiday season.
Last week, Esperon revealed that communist rebels are supposedly plotting assassinations against government officials, which includes Duterte, in time for the CPP’s founding anniversary on Dec. 26.
But the CPP denied the supposed “hit list,” which they claimed was only meant to “sabotage” the resumption of peace talks.
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