CPP says it was ready to issue stand-down order to NPA
MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) echoed the frustration of its founding chairman, Jose Maria Sison, saying the cancellation of a ceasefire agreement and resumption of peace talks scheduled this month was "unacceptable."
"For the record, the CPP was set to issue a stand-down order to the New People's Army (NPA) in anticipation of the announcement of the [stand-down] agreement," the CPP said in a statement it sent to Rappler on Friday, June 15.
However, the military said it was not ready for ceasefire.
President Rodrigo Duterte decided to postpone the resumption of peace talks scheduled on June 28 after meeting with military top brass, which asked to postpone the peace talks for 3 months.
Sison said agreements had been signed by both sides of the negotiation table – government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello and and his National Democratic Front counterpart Fidel Agcaoili – and supposedly witnessed by Norwegian ambassador acting as third party facilitator.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed it was not aware of the agreement between the negotiators. There was supposed to be an agreement that both sides would issue a stand down order by June 21. (READ: Military asks Duterte for 3-month postponement of peace talks)
"They (AFP) requested this postponement so that AFP can look into the ramifications of the standown and the succeeding ceasefire in its security operations," said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
In the June 15 statement, the CPP directed its fighters to consolidate and expand across the country as it cast doubt on the sincerity of Duterte in engaging the rebels in peace talks.
"What is clear is that Duterte is obsessed with waging all-out war against the people and talks of peace only as a way of inducing the surrender of the revolutionary forces through a prolonged ceasefire without resolving through concrete reforms such widespread problems of the people as rural poverty, hunger, joblessness, low wages, insecure jobs and others," the CPP said.
"With Duterte's unilateral cancellation of the scheduled talks, the CPP and NPA are ever more resolute in waging and advancing people's war across the country in order to defend the Filipino people against the assaults of the fascist regime," the CPP said.
The peace talks were aimed at addressing the root cause of the decades-old armed struggle by instituting land reform and national industrialization.
The resumption of peace talks on June 28 was supposed to come after Duterte scrapped the negotiations last year. (READ: The end of the affair? Duterte's romance with the Reds) – Rappler.com