Palace: Ceasefire extension with Reds up to task force
MANILA, Philippines — Voicing doubts on another ceasefire with communist rebels, Malacañang remained noncommittal on reciprocating a truce extension that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared on April 15.
“On whether government would extend the unilateral ceasefire, this matter is something the National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict can discuss with the President,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The anti-insurgency task force is chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte himself with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. as vice chairman.
“The call for peace is everyone’s desire and it has become more urgent in the present state of calamity and public health emergency,” Roque said after the CPP ordered the extension of the ceasefire until April 30.
The CPP, in a statement, said the 15-day extension was needed in order to “prioritize the fight against the pandemic.”
But Roque pointed out that the CPP’s New People’s Army (NPA) “themselves violated their own declaration of truce in the form of violent armed encounters with government troops” despite its supposed ceasefire declaration.
On April 7, Roque said, communist rebels even seized relief goods intended for residents of Barangay Guinmayohan.
The NPA has figured in at least three deadly clashes with security forces since the CPP declared a truce on March 25.
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