The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that there will be no longer any ceasefire with the communist terrorists during his term.
Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said they are thankful to the President for heeding their recommendation not to declare a ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) during the yuletide season or even beyond.
“We are thankful to the Commander-in-Chief for heeding the AFP’s recommendation not to declare ceasefire this holiday season and beyond — not because we do not want peace, but because what we advocate is a genuine and lasting peace,” he said in a press statement.
Arevalo said this lasting peace cannot be achieved through a peace pact with the NPA as the communist terrorists are “notoriously insincere and unworthy of public trust”.
This refers to the NPA’s penchant for attacking military and civilian targets in the past despite agreeing to a ceasefire agreement with the government.
The AFP earlier said it is not inclined to recommend any holiday truce with the communist terrorists as they have been demonstrating insincerity in previous agreements.
“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.
In a public address Monday night, Duterte earlier declared that the ceasefire with the communist rebels as “dead” and said that he was forced to walk away from “peace talks” after the CPP and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF) asked for the formation of a “coalition government”.
“I walked away from the talks because we cannot understand each other. Maybe we were talking in different dialects. I don’t know why. But I just simply cannot understand the way it is being carried by the other side, being played. What was evolving before me was something that it is not acceptable to the Republic of the Philippines, lalo na ‘yang (especially this) coalition government. No president, no stupid president will allow it. He will get impeached,” he said.
The President said he cannot compromise anything in the government, particularly the supposed power-sharing the CPP-NPA-NDF asked from him.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas also supported Duterte’s decision.
“We support the statement of our President. Our deployment remains the same. Even if there is a SOPO (suspension of police operations), we are just on defense mode but if there is none, our operations continue. We continue to deploy our forces in areas where armed NPA members are known to be hiding. There is no withdrawal of troops and if they are in mountains, our officers would also be there to hunt them,” Sinas said in Filipino during a press conference in Camp Crame.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (with reports from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)