Christmas ceasefire now impossible, CPP says
The New People's Army marked its 51st anniversary on March 29, 2020.
Photo courtesy of Visayas Today/Nonoy Espina

Christmas ceasefire now impossible, CPP says

(Philstar.com) - December 16, 2020 - 11:45am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:27 p.m.) — Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s prior announcement that there will be no ceasefire with the Reds “ever again”, the Communist Party of the Philippines on Wednesday said its armed units can launch tactical offensives over the holidays.

In a statement on Wednesday, the CPP said they and revolutionary forces extend their solidarity with the Filipino people for the holidays as well as their upcoming 52nd anniversary on December 26.

“The Duterte regime’s relentless state terrorist attacks and horrific anticommunist onslaught against the people, however make impossible a joyful holiday celebration this year,” said the CPP.

This comes after Duterte himself declared that there will be no ceasefire “ever again” with the Reds under his term. “For all intents and purposes, the ceasefire is dead. It’s gone,” he said in a public address that aired on December 7.

The CPP said it are ordering its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army to “defend the masses and themselves against the attacks of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines].”

It added: “They can carry out tactical offensives especially against attacking troops of the enemy, particularly those who have perpetrated massacres and extrajudicial killings and who are notorious for grave abuses and violations of human rights.”

The CPP also accused Duterte of ignoring appeals for a ceasefire, noting “night-time barging in of armed soldiers into their homes, from the initimidation and threats to force the masses to ‘surrender’ from the massacres, killings, abductions, arrests and torture, the bombings and the portending fly overs of drones.”

“In the face of the vicious attacks by Duterte’s military and police forces both in the cities and the countryside, the CPP Central Committee is forced to dispense with the traditional holiday ceasefire this year,” it added.

'First time since Arroyo administration'

The government declared a ceasefire in March at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, citing the need to focus resources in addressing the pandemic. Communist rebels reciprocated the truce, heeding the call of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic.

The truce, which was once again marred by both sides accusing each other of violations, ended in April.

Marco Valbuena, CPP information officer, said this is the first time since the Arroyo administration that the rebels have not declared a ceasefire. The last time, Valbuena said, "was during the time of Arroyo in the face of hundreds of extrajudicial killings against activists in both cities and rural areas."

Historically, both sides have declared unilateral ceasefires, where they halt offensive operations over the Christmas holidays. Both have also accused the other of conducting operations despite the supposed ceasefire. 

The AFP early in December said they are also not recommending holiday truce, accusing the communist rebels of insincerity and unfaithfulness to previous ceasefire declarations. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Xave Gregorio

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