Dureza: Duterte walked extra mile for peace
An adviser for President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that the Chief Executive did everything he could to be able to maintain a unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels which he declared less than a week ago.
“It is very clear that the President walked the extra mile for peace. And no doubt, he will still continue to do so at any given opportunity,” Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said amid criticisms on the revocation of the government’s ceasefire declaration.
In a statement, Dureza stated the chronological facts of the declaration then the eventual lifting of the ceasefire issued by Duterte against the leftist rebels:
He said that after Duterte declared the ceasefire in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, they expected that the NDF would “respond accordingly.”
But on July 26, the NDF said that it cannot reciprocate the President’s truce, saying that “they were waiting for the precise written orders on the ceasefire.” This prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to issue written guidelines on how the ceasefire would be implemented, Dureza said.
A firefight ensued the next day, July 27, between government troops and NPA rebels which killed a civilian auxiliary force member and wounded three others. Duterte then asked NDF leaders to explain why the firefight happened in the midst of the unilateral ceasefire declaration.
Dureza said the President did not receive any explanation from the NDF until July 28. This led an “obviously disappointed and exasperated” Duterte to announce a 5 p.m. ultimatum on July 30 for the NDF to reciprocate the government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration.
The 5 p.m. ultimatum lapsed with no declaration from the NDF’s side. But Dureza said that the President “still patiently waited.”
In the meantime, the peace adviser said that the government monitored “disturbing messages” from the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command which hit the administration’s ceasefire as “non-existent.”
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison said that their side was ready to reciprocate the ceasefire.
Dureza said that he will submit his recommendations to the President and the Cabinet on Monday.
The peace adviser’s statements, however, did not sit well with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr.
He said that it was Dureza who made Duterte “look bad” for failing to check on the developments of the ceasefire declaration on the side of the NDF.
“OPAPP and the government panel dropped the ball on this one and in so doing, made the President look bad. Isang oras lang ang diperensya ng pagbawi ng ceasefire ng gobyerno at yung reciprocal ceasefire na idedeklakara sana ng kabilang panig (The time difference was just one hour between the government’s lifting of the ceasefire and the reciprocal ceasefire that was supposed to be declared by the other side),” Reyes said. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.