PNP: No Christmas ceasefire with CPP-NPA

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP: No Christmas ceasefire with CPP-NPA
A netizen photographed the crescent moon in Pili, Camarines Sur on December 15, 2023.
Philip Darilay

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippine National Police (PNP) will not recommend a cessation of hostilities with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA), during the Yuletide season.

The PNP is not inclined to have a ceasefire following a skirmish between soldiers and communist rebels in Balayan, Batangas where one Army trooper and six insurgents were killed, according to PNP public information officer Col. Jean Fajardo.

“We have not recommended a ceasefire this holiday so far,” she said at a news briefing in Camp Crame.

The government under President Marcos and the National Democratic Front had earlier agreed to resume peace talks.

As there will be no suspension of police operations, all tactical operations against the rebels will proceed, including test missions by Special Action Force troopers.

Even if they have yet to receive any report of serious or credible threats, Fajardo said the PNP will also beef up defenses in far-flung areas which are vulnerable to attacks in preparation for the CPP’s founding anniversary on Dec. 26.

“We will not lower our guard. We know that they will have a celebration for their anniversary,” she said.

She said all police units are regularly coordinating with their counterparts from the military to thwart any plot from the NPA.

In the wake of the armed encounter in Balayan and Tagkawayan, Fajardo said police units in Batangas and Quezon have intensified border control and checkpoint operations to flush out the rebels who were involved in the clashes.

The PNP is on full alert for the Yuletide season, which means all 228,000 police officers and personnel are available and ready for deployment in the event of emergencies.

Fajardo said police officers who availed themselves of a holiday break and went to their home provinces must report to the nearest police station to ensure maximum deployment, especially on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

In late November, President Marcos issued a series of proclamations granting amnesty to former communist rebels and Moro secessionists who wish to return to the fold of the law.

Holiday ceasefires were a given in past administrations to enable rebels as well as soldiers to put away their guns and spend time with family.

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