DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Dec) – The New People’s Army (NPA) has declared a 12-day ceasefire starting December 23 until January 3 “in solidarity with the Filipino people’s traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays.”
Based on the recommendation of the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Tuesday, the ceasefire applies to commands and units of the NPA and the people’s militias nationwide.
Reacting to NPA’s 12-day ceasefire, newly-appointed Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) commander Maj. Gen. Rey Guerrero said it is a welcome development but they are hoping that NPA will faithfully remain faithful by the declaration.
Aside from the holidays, the rebel group cited as reason for declaring a ceasefire with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the government of the Philippines to allow the rebel group to execute “mass assemblies and public demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the CPP and celebrate revolutionary victories of the past year.”
In a statement, the NPA said it has implemented a ceasefire to support the efforts of peace advocates who want Philippine Government and the NDFP to return to the peace table on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
“The revolutionary movement calls for the release of all political prisoners including 17 NDFP consultants in accordance with the CARHRIHL and the JASIG,” the statement added.
While the ceasefire is in effect, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against its enemies.
“Personnel of the AFP and PNP who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest or punitive actions. They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people’s democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends,” it stated.
All forces of the NPA will keep the guards up “at both the strategic and tactical levels” while maintaining “a high degree of militancy and vigilance” against possible actions of the opposing forces.
There is also no let up in being vigilant on offensive operations including so-called “peace and development”, “civil-military” or “peace and order” operations, it added.
“Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy forces,” it stated.