MANILA, Philippines – A day after President Rodrigo Duterte ended a week-long unilateral ceasefire against communist rebels, the Philippine National Police (PNP) officially withdrew the suspension of offensive police operations against the longest-running insurgency in Asia.
“A lifting/withdrawal of Suspension of Offensive Police Operations against [the CPP-NPA-NDF] is hereby declared nationwide effective immediately,” PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Sunday, July 31, in a statement to media.
Dela Rosa added: “All office/units must 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 law, and maintain peace in all areas of responsibility.”
Both the PNP and the military had earlier suspended all offensive operations against the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), after Duterte announced during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) a”unilateral ceasefire” against the communist rebels.
The CPP-NPA-NDF was expected to immediately reciprocate the gesture, ahead of the reopening of peace talks late August.
But this week, the NPA supposedly attacked government militias in Davao del Norte, killing one and hurting 4 from the government side. The NPA, however, insists they were only defending themselves from operations by government militia.
Duterte then called on the CPP to also declare a ceasefire by 5 pm on July 30, Saturday. He also gave the group until midnight of July 29 to explain the incident.
By Saturday night, July 30, Duterte already ordered the “immediate lifting” of the ceasefire with communist rebels. – Rappler.com