Palace: Sison’s ceasefire bid a ‘positive development’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday called the recommendation of exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison to declare a unilateral ceasefire a “positive development.”
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he hopes that the communist rebels would show “genuine sincerity” by halting all their forces following this move from the CPP leader.
“The recommendation of Mr. Jose Ma. Sison, founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), to issue a declaration of a ceasefire addressed to the New People’s Army (NPA) purportedly in response to the call of the United Nations Secretary General for a global armistice, is a positive development,” Panelo said in a statement.
Sison said he is recommending a unilateral ceasefire as a response to the United Nation’s call amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier called for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.”
“As Mr. Sison proposes concord to be realized during this global health crisis, it is also our hope that their group’s armed component on the ground would show genuine sincerity in laying down their arms and not use the occasion to mobilize their forces. The Palace looks forward that they would make good – and stay true to – their words,” Panelo said.
“At this crucial time, the Filipino people deserve and need a safe and peaceful environment where there is unimpeded movement of health workers, medical supplies, food and other needs and services, in view of the current state of calamity and public health emergency,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire, ordering all government forces to cease and desist its operations against communist rebels from March 19 to April 15.
Malacañang said it is part of the government’s efforts to keep public health assistance unimpeded in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Philippines is under a state of calamity, allowing local government units (LGUs) to access quick response funds during emergency situations.
Luzon, meanwhile, has been placed under an enhanced community quarantine until midnight of April 13, 2020 to limit the public’s movement as the government addresses the threats of COVID-19.
WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it has already infected more than 340,000 people worldwide and killed more than 14,000 mostly in China and Italy.
In the Philippines, COVID-19 cases swelled to 501 on Tuesday morning, of which 33 have already died.
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