"He should come home so they can have a one-on-one meeting. If he does not come here, that means, he is afraid and he is not sincere," Panelo said of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
Palace warns Reds: Don't violate ceasefire again
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - December 29, 2019 - 5:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday called on communist rebels to refrain from committing another violation of the holiday ceasefire even if the rebels have denied launching offensives against government forces.

Security officials have accused the New People's Army, the armed wing of the communists, of carrying out attacks in Labo, Camarines Norte and Tubungan, Iloilo on Dec. 23, the first day of the 16-day truce. The incidents resulted in the death of one soldier and the wounding of eight government troopers.

The National Democratic Front, which represents the rebels in the peace talks with the government, has claimed that the NPA members did not violate the ceasefire because they only defended themselves from the attacks of the military and the police. NDF has also claimed that it had yet to receive copies of the orders directing the military and the police to suspend their operations against the NPA.  

It has since acknowledged receipt of copies of the orders to suspend military and police operations.

Asked to react to the NDF's claim, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo reiterated that the communist rebels should avoid staging attacks during the ceasefire period, which started last Dec. 23 and will end on Jan. 7.

"Whatever the reason is, pinagbigyan sila ni Presidente. Kaya huwag na nila ulitin (the President let it pass. So they should not repeat it)," Panelo said in a radio interview.

RELATED: 'Localized' peace talks best way to end insurgency — OPAPP

Panelo said President Duterte remains open to resuming the talks with the rebels despite the recent incidents involving the NPA. He, however, maintained that Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, who has been on self-exile in the Netherlands since 1987, should come home to the Philippines to meet with Duterte.

"He should come home so they can have a one-on-one meeting. If he does not come here, that means, he is afraid and he is not sincere," Panelo said.

Panelo also dismissed as "nonsense" Sison's statement that he does not want to come to the Philippines because he is worried for his safety.

"Nothing will happen to him (Sison) here," the Palace spokesman said.

Duterte canceled the talks with the NDF in 2017 after the NPA staged successive offensives against the military and the police. The President, however, reversed his decision this month, saying a leader should always be open to peace negotiations. 

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