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Old 07-25-2016, 09:33   #1
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Duterte declares unilateral ceasefire with communists

Yeah, but will the NPA cease operations like most good communist insurgencies do when negotiating?


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 1 8:06 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to implement a unilateral ceasefire with the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Duterte said it is ironic and tragic to enter into peace talks and yet "load our guns, fix our sights and pull the trigger."

"All of us want peace. Not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living," he said.

Duterte talked about casualties of encounters between the military and communists. The president said that both sides praise the heroism of their fighters who die in clashes, but all he could see are the grieving widows and the orphans.

"[I] feel their pain and grief and no amount of cash assistance or the number of medals can compensate the loss of the human life."

Duterte called for an end to skirmishes and ambushes of the NPA which he said is getting bloodier by the day. He declared a truce to immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in communities and create an environment conducive to the resumption of peace talks.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the unilateral ceasefire was the big announcement he referred to before.

"[Y]un yung sinasabi ko na posibleng maging pinakamalaking istorya and I'm sure you guys agree.... [W]hen was the last ceasefire that we had, panahon pa yata ni Cory yung ceasefire with the [NDFP]," he said.

Andanar added that Duterte asked CPP founder Joma Sison to respond to the truce, accordingly.

The ceasefire was supposed to be discussed in August when negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the CPP's political arm, resumes. The talks will happen in Norway with the Norwegian government serving as the third-party facilitator.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the resumption of talks is a milestone after it was halted in 2013 due to disagreements on the freeing of jailed rebels.

The NDFP argued jailed rebels should be released as they are covered by the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, which prohibits the arrest and detention of peace consultants.

The Duterte administration, however, said it would release imprisoned rebels who would participate in the negotiations. A total of 11 detained communists may be freed to enable them to take part in the negotiations.

Causes of rebellion

Duterte also vowed to solve the cause of rebellion including the lack of development in the countryside.

“We will vigorously address the grievances that have been time and again expressed, not only by the Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and other groups for security, development, fair access to decision-making and acceptance of identities,” the president said.

“Enduring peace can only be attained only if we meet these fundamental needs of every man, woman and child,” he added.

Duterte assured Moros and communists that the government is bent on attaining lasting peace.

He said the sorrow caused by the loss of lives “cuts across every stratum of society” and leads to pain that lasts forever.

“That is why, I reach out to you, to all of you today. To our Muslim brothers, let us end the centuries of mistrust and warfare. To the CPP-NPA-NDF, let us end these decades of ambuscades and skirmishes,” he said.
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Old 07-25-2016, 15:26   #2
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Not my AO so am just genuinely curious.

Is the "Punisher" mellowing, or is he extending an olive branch that the NPA had better accept, lest he drop the hammer? (if he's in a position to do so)

I'll admit it would be refreshing to see a head-of-state get a Nobel prize for actually doing something rather than "hope & change."
"Civil Wars don't start when a few guys hunt down a specific bastard. Civil Wars start when many guys hunt down the nearest bastards."

The coin paid to enforce words on parchment is blood; tyrants will not be stopped with anything less dear. - QP Peregrino
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:39   #3
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Truce over

It was fun while it lasted.


President Rodrigo Duterte ends the days-old truce with communist rebels after they fail to meet his deadline to reciprocate the government's unilateral ceasefire declaration

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday night, July 30, ordered the "immediate lifting" of the government's unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels.

Duterte issued the order two hours after his deadline on a reciprocal ceasefire declaration from the Communist Party of the Philippines lapsed without any action from the CPP.

"Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering the immediate lifting of the unilateral ceasefire that I ordered last July 25 against the communist rebels," the President said in a statement.

In line with the end of the government-declared ceasefire, the President also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police "to also withdraw the operational guidelines they issued in pursuance to that ceasefire declaration."

"I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land," he said.

Before the President issued the order, the National Democratic Front (NDF), the CPP's political arm engaged in peace negotiations with the government, said the CPP will reciprocate the government ceasefire but only after it completes its investigation on the incident that prompted the President's deadline.

NDF spokesman Fidel Agcaoili relayed this in a text message to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the government peace panel.

"Please give us time to finish our investigation of the incident as reported by concerned NPA command. The CPP will reciprocate the President's ceasefire declaration," Agcaoili said in his message to Bello, which the latter shared with Rappler.

Duterte had warned that he would end the government's unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels if the deadline was not met.

On Friday afternoon, Duterte said the CPP should reciprocate the government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration by 5 pm on July 30. This was prompted by the New People's Army attack on government militias in Davao del Norte that killed one and hurt 4 others from the government side.

The President personally condoled with the family of slain Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) member Panggong Kamonad at the headquarters of the 60th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Doña Andrea, Asuncion, Davao del Norte on Friday.

Duterte initially gave the CPP until Thursday midnight, July 29, to explain the NPA ambush just two days after he announced the government's unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels in his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 25.

'Be patient'

While CPP founder Jose Maria Sison had said that his side would reciprocate the government ceasefire, he had also explained it may not be done quickly.

Hours after Duterte set the Saturday deadline, Sison said the new Philippine president "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 3 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," Sison said on Friday night.

He had also demanded that CPP leaders punish those responsible for the attack. But on the same day Duterte set the deadline for the CPP's ceasefire declaration to Saturday afternoon, the NPA blamed the military, claiming it was only defending itself from government troops who were allegedly ignoring the government-declared truce with rebels.

Back to regular operations

Following the President's order AFP chief General Ricardo Visayas said, "I am ordering all our forces to resume their normal mandated tasks and work to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land."

"This could have been what the Filipino nation had been waiting for – the silencing of the guns that could have hastened development especially in the countryside," Visaya added.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said, "The NPA have missed a golden opportunity to manifest their commitment to the attainment of our citizen's much sought peace throughout the land."

Hours before the lifting of the ceasefire, the AFP announced the withdrawal of an elite unit from combat operations that day.

Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Deputy Commander of the Civil Relations Service of the AFP, said in a statement early Saturday afternoon that the Philippine Army had completed the pullout of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion from San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, on orders of AFP chief General Ricardo Visaya.

"[This] manifests the AFP's resolve to comply with the directive of the President to step back from the operational area where there are likely armed engagement between government security forces and members of the CPP-NPA-NDF," Arevalo said. – Rappler.com
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