DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 December) – The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today issued a ceasefire order to its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), that will take effect for 19 days starting December 16.
“We hereby declare to all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militia a ceasefire order to be effective upon the reciprocal and concurrent ceasefire order from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to its military, police and paramilitary forces, within the period of 0001H of 16 December 2010 to 23:59H of 03 January 2011,” the order said.
In their informal meeting in Hong Kong last week, the peace panels of the Philippine government and National Democratic Front agreed to a bilateral ceasefire from December 16 to January 3, 2011 in observance of the yuletide season and the New Year.
The CPP’s ceasefire order directed all NPA commands and units to desist from carrying out attacks against military, paramilitary and police units and to maintain a defensive mode [for the duration of the truce] against offensives by government forces.
“Active self-defense shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger,” it added.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no published response yet from Malacanang on the CPP’s ceasefire order.
But on December 3, the day both peace panels made public the mutual ceasefire, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen, Ricardo A. David announced the suspension of military operations for the entire duration of the holiday truce against the NPA.
The CPP, the leading group inside the NDF, was founded on December 26, 1968. Its military arm, the NPA, was formed on March 29, 1969 and started out with just 60 fighters and 34 rifles.
By mid-1980s, NPA strength grew to some 25,000 guerrillas scattered across most provinces of the archipelago. According to current military estimates, the number has gone down to roughly 8,000 fighters.
Since the time of the late President Corazon C. Aquino the NDFP has held on-and-off peace talks with the Philippine government.(MindaNews)