Joma Sison now open to truce with gov’t in response to UN call for ‘global ceasefire’
DAVAO CITY –– Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison is now persuaded to institute ceasefire by Red fighters with government forces, in response to a call for unified global effort against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19.)
The senior communist leader, said in a statement on Tuesday, that he is directing the proposal to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in “response to the call of UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In a virtual press conference on Monday, the United Nations chief called for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.”
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” Guterres said. “It is time to put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
President Duterte earlier ordered a unilateral ceasefire from March 19 to April 15 to create an environment of cooperation to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“Let us have a ceasefire. I am appealing to you. Let us have a ceasefire. If you want to be always in talking terms, this time kindly cooperate,” Duterte appealed to the communist rebels in a national address on March 18.
The NDF refused to reciprocate the ceasefire explaining that there are apprehensions based on several recent experiences, including the attacks against legal activists and the alleged “militarist” lockdown in Luzon.
But on Monday, Sison said that tactical offensives by the New People’s Army (NPA), CPP’s armed wing, must be refrained and use the time to help in preventing the further spread of the disease in the country.
“The NDFP and the broad masses of the people themselves need to refrain from launching tactical offensives to gain more time and opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to look after the health and over-all welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” Sison said.
He added that even before the recommendation for a ceasefire, the NDF and the New People’s Army “have been informing, training and mobilizing the people on how to fight the pandemic.”
While he is supportive of the ceasefire, Sison reminds the NPA to maintain its guard against possible attacks to its units during the period of the unilateral ceasefire.
“While the New People’s Army can cease from launching tactical offensives against the military, police and paramilitary forces of the GRP, it must be vigilant and be ready to act in self-defense against any tactical offensive launched by an enemy force against the people and revolutionary forces in the guerrilla fronts of the people’s democratic government,” Sison said.
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