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Joma Sison asks Duterte:  Don’t rush us into ceasefire

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte. FILE PHOTOS

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte. FILE PHOTOS

LUCENA CITY, Quezon — Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison appealed to President Duterte not to rush the communist rebel forces into immediately reciprocating the unilateral ceasefire the Chief Executive declared last Monday, saying the CPP, its armed wing the New People’s Army and its political wing the National Democratic Front of the Philippines must first study the parameters and the terms of the government’s unilateral ceasefire.

“President Duterte should be patient and not expect quick surrenders from highly principled and experienced revolutionaries who have a growing mass base against the rotten ruling system of big compradors and landlords. It took at least three days for the Duterte government to make clear what is the content of its unilateral ceasefire order. The CPP and NDFP should be given enough time to study the implications and consequences of the GRP ceasefire order and what will soon be the unilateral ceasefire order.”

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Sison said that while Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire “effective immediately” on July 25, the Armed Forces of the Philippines did not issue its suspension of offensive military operations or SOMO until July 26.

“But it would only be on July 26 that the SOMO of the AFP would be issued, with  no clarity about many things, like no end yet of the ongoing AFP national … campaigns against the NPA and also the occupation of Lumad communities, schools, health clinics and barangay halls.”

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The Philippine National Police, on the other hand, only issued a SOPO or the suspension of offensive police operations on July 27, noted Sison, adding that the police did not stop the pursuit of “legal offensives” or criminal charges against the communist rebels.

“Only on July 27 did the PNP issue a SOPO, which among other things, provided for the continuance of “legal offensives” (i.e. the trumping of false charges of common crimes against people suspected of being connected to the NPA) in violation of JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees), CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws) and the Hernandez political offense doctrine.”

Sison added that the formal exchange of documents regarding President Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire would be done the resumption of formal talks from August 20 to 27.

The CPP-NPA-NDFP welcomed President Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and expressed its appreciation through an NPA directive to its guerilllas that they stay “in active defense mode” and no more.

However, tensions between the Philippine government and the communist rebel forces arose when the AFP reported that the NPA attacked a group of militiamen in Kapalong, Davao del Norte on Wednesday (July 27), killing one militiamen and wounding four others, when a unilateral ceasefire had been declared.

President Duterte demanded an explanation from the communist rebels and threatened to cancel the unilateral ceasefire if he did not get a response by Thursday night or Friday morning.  The CPP-NPA-NDFP asked for more time to investigate the Kapalong-Davao del Norte ambush.

Duterte responded by saying he would wait for their explanation until 5 p.m., Saturday (July 30).

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In the meantime, the New People’s Army claimed that they attacked the group of militiamen in Davao del Norte after receiving credible information that Army soldiers and the paramilitary units in the area were about to attack communist guerillas there.  Aris Francisco, NPA spokesman, accused the military of trying to sabotage the peace talks.

The following is the statement from Jose Maria Sison:

“President Duterte merely made an announcement of a unilateral ceasefire “effectively immediately” in his SONA on July 25. But it would only be on July 26 that the SOMO of the AFP would be issued, with  no clarity about many things, like no end yet of the ongoing AFP national … campaigns against the NPA and also the occupation of Lumad communities, schools, health clinics and barangay halls.

“Only on July 27 did the PNP issue a SOPO, which among other things, provided for  the continuance of “legal offensives” (i.e. the trumping of false charges of common crimes against people suspected of being connected to the NPA) in violation of JASIG, CARHRIHL and the Hernandez political offense doctrine.

“The Central Committee of the CPP has to do study these defective issuances of the AFP and PNP … President Duterte should be patient and not expect quick surrenders from highly principled and experienced revolutionaries who have a growing mass base against the rotten ruling system of big compradors and landlords.

“It took at least three days for the Duterte government to make clear what is the content of its unilateral ceasefire order. The CPP and NDFP should be given enough time to study the implications and consequences of the GRP ceasefire order and what will soon be the unilatreral ceasefire order.

“Before the issuance of the latter ceasefire, there is yet no two-sided ceasefire even if through unilateral ceasefire orders.

“In the letter of Jalandoni as NDFP negotiating panel chairperson to his GRP counterpart Bello, he said that at the latest the formal exhange of the documents of unilateral ceasefire shall be done during the resumption of formal talks from August 20 to 27.”  SFM

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