NDF: holiday truce a farce

In a statement, the NDF also called the proposal of AFP chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon for a three-year ceasefire a “cheap psywar trick.”

The communist-led New People’s Army has spurned a truce during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The move is a departure from what has become a tradition since the NPA started engaging various administrations in on and off peace talks.

At the same time, the NDF expressed willingness to enter into a ceasefire based on certain conditions.

“Ceasefire between the GRP and NDFP is possible anytime if the GRP 1) agrees with the NDFP on the ten principles in the proposed concise agreement for an immediate just peace, 2) respects the political authority and territory of the people's democratic government, 3) withdraws AFP troops to divisional headquarters and the PNP mobile brigades to brigade headquarters and dissolves the paramilitary forces, 4) removes the12 impediments that prevent the resumption of formal talks and 5)agrees with the NDFP to accelerate the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration,” the statement said.

“The Arroyo regime spouts gibberish about ‘ceasefire’ in order to obscure the gross and systematic human rights violations and other impediments to the resumption of formal talks and lay aside the need to address the roots of the civil war with basic social, economic and political reforms through the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” it added.

In her speech at the 72nd founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on December 21, President Arroyo said the communist rebels “have spent years as a low-level threat. It is time for their disruption and violation of human rights to be put to rest so that the nation can move ahead. They impede the progress and development of a number of rural areas. They are responsible for a wide range of human rights abuses. If we are to become a First World country, we have to put a stop to their ideological nonsense and their criminal acts once and for all.” (MindaNews)