CPP says ceasefire declarations should be reciprocal

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 April) — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Saturday said it did not issue a declaration of interim ceasefire Friday, after the Philippine government (GRP) announced it will not issue a similar declaration.

In a statement, the CPP said he issuance of ceasefire declarations “was supposed to be done reciprocally as agreed upon by the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and GRP in the their March 11 statement Joint Statement.”

The CPP said it was willing to comply with this agreement, but “GRP President Duterte said he had to consult with national security and military officials about issuing a reciprocal ceasefire declaration.”

“It can only be surmised that he heeded the advise of AFP officials on the matter,” it said.

The statement added the CPP “fully supports” the fourth round of peace negotiations on April 2-6 despite the non-issuance of ceasefire declarations by either side.

The talks next week will tackle socioeconomic as well as political and constitutional reforms.

The CPP said it expects agrarian issues to be “fully addressed in the talks” as “the most pressing social justice issue in the country.”

In the same statement, the CPP accused the military of committing attacks against civilians, adding more of these could happen “in light of “Duterte’s non-declaration of ceasefire.

It cited the evacuation of 36 families from Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental on March 29 after soldiers of the 58th Infantry Battalion entered the village and encamped there.

It also alleged that soldiers of the 28th and 66th IB killed a peasant resident of Tagbinonga, Mati City, Davao Oriental, after they encountered the NPA in the area.

“The peasant was on his way to the town center to sell copra when he was waylaid by AFP soldiers. In press releases, the AFP claims the peasant was a member of the NPA (New People’s Army), something which his family disputes,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, in a statement Saturday, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana hit the NPA for burning equipment and properties of companies that “refuse to succumb to their extortions [sic].”

“They do these to companies who build roads, export produce, transport people — activities that help generate employment and wealth for Filipinos,” Lorenzana said.

“They have also attacked and ambushed military and police personnel who were doing their constitutional duties and killed military personnel on home leaves.

“They did these nefarious acts after they have asked for the resumption of peace talks and after they have announced that they will go on a unilateral ceasefire,” he added. (MindaNews)