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No ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines ever again: President

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Dec 9, 2020, The Manila Times. President Rodrigo Duterte has ruled out any ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), saying the government will work to crush communist rebels, The Manila Times reported.

The President declared that there will be no ceasefire this Christmas “or ever again.”

In his weekly address to the nation late Monday, Duterte claimed that the ceasefire with the CPP NPA had long been dead.

“There will be no ceasefire ever again under my term… For all intents and purposes, ‘yung (the) ceasefire is dead. Wala na ‘yon. Matagal na ‘yon (It’s long gone),” he said.

The Philippine government traditionally declares a holiday ceasefire with the communists during the Christmas holidays, which is reciprocated by the rebel group.

The military earlier announced that it would not recommend to the President a traditional holiday ceasefire, citing the communist rebels’ “crimes.”

Earlier this year, the government and the CPP declared a ceasefire to allow the government to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

Both sides claimed that the other violated the ceasefire.

In the same public address, Duterte also shot down the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the CPP’s negotiating arm.

He admitted that he “walked away” from the peace talks “because we cannot understand each other.”

“Maybe we were talking in different dialects, I don’t know why, but I simply cannot understand the way it was being carried by the other side, the way it was being played.

What was evolving before me was something that was not acceptable to the Republic of the Philippines, lalo na ‘yang (especially that) coalition government,” he said.

The President insisted that the rebel demand to form a coalition government was unacceptable, saying, “No stupid president will allow it. He will get impeached. You are not supposed to share that power…those powers given to me under the law are only to be exercised unless they are capable of being delegated. I cannot compromise anything in this government. It’s either I will be impeached or the military and police will shoot me.”

Duterte also insisted that all communists were “bad” since they were conspiring to overthrow the government.

“I have to destroy you,” the President said, adding that while the anti-subversion law had
been repealed, the communists had committed murder, arson and other atrocities.

“These are serious offenses under the Revised Penal Code and your organization, simply communists all of you, the act of one is the act of all,” he said.

Duterte also disclosed plans to identify other people belonging to the communist rebel organization.

“So, what do we do? Well, I’m trying to sort out what we will do to you because you are now criminals and I said I have pointed out we are not only tagging you. We are identifying you and we will identify you anytime you want. But there will be a time before my [term ends], I will name all of you, kayong lahat sa NDF,” he said.

Thankful

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed the President’s declaration.

“We are thankful to the Commander-in-Chief for heeding the AFP’s recommendation not to declare ceasefire this holiday season and beyond,” Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, said in a statement.

“[This is] not because we do not want peace, but because what we advocate is a genuine and lasting peace that we cannot achieve through a peace pact with the NPA that is notoriously insincere and unworthy of public trust,” he added.

The CPP, meanwhile, said Duterte’s announcement was no surprise.

Duterte’s declaration was “no surprise” for the communist movement.

“His government’s policies have always been shaped by military generals who are obsessed with prolonging the civil war,”Marco Valbuena, CPP’s information officer, said in a statement.

“They are addicted to war because of the profits they pocket from it.”

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