‘Be ready to fight’: Duterte ends ceasefire with CPP-NPA
(2nd update, 6:39 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered the lifting the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Duterte said he ordered Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año on Thursday night to terminate the ceasefire effective Friday night, February 3.
“Kaya kagabi I decided, I called General Año and said, ni-lift ko ‘yung ceasefire tonight. Wala ng ceasefire. (Last night, I decided (and) called General Año to lift the ceasefire tonight. There is no more ceasefire),” he said in a speech in North Cotabato.
BACKSTORY: DND: Gov’t to continue ceasefire with NPA
The President said he went out his way to extend peace to the communist rebels but lamented that many of the government’s soldiers have died.
“So I really would like to express my sadness. We cannot have a peaceful generation. There will be always be a fight. I’m here for six years. Siguro kung malasin (If I am unlucky), less than. But to me, mahirapan na tayo (we have a problem),” he said.
“But let it not be said that I did not try. So I guess that peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation. Maybe years from now,” he added.
He said government troops were ready to fight with the NPA anytime amid the killings of soldiers by alleged communist rebels.
“So ayaw ko magpatayan. Pero kung ganon lang naman na ang mga sundalo ko pinagpapatay, pati sa uban lugar, resume tayo, anytime,” he said.
Be ready to fight
Duterte ordered the AFP to “take your position and be alert.”
“Go back to your camps, clean your rifles and be ready to fight,” he said.
The chief executive said he decided to terminate the government’s ceasefire ahead of the CPP-NPA, which has announced it would terminate its part of the truce on February 10, because many soldiers have already died.
“Because I lost so many soldiers in just 48 hours, I think to continue with the ceasefire does not or will not produce anything,” he said.
On Thursday, Duterte said he will not give in to the demands of the NPA to immediately release more political prisoners despite the communists’ withdrawal from its unilateral ceasefire agreement with the government. IDL/rga