CPP-NPA announces 2-day ceasefire starting Christmas but will 'defend itself'

James Relativo - Philstar.com
CPP-NPA announces 2-day ceasefire starting Christmas but will 'defend itself'
This photo taken on July 30, 2017 shows guerrillas of the New People's Army (NPA) in formation in the Sierra Madre mountain range, located east of Manila. Fuelled by one of the world's starkest rich-poor divides, a Maoist rebellion that began months before the first human landed on the moon plods on even though the country now boasts one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
AFP / Noel Celis, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) on Saturday declared a two-day suspension of tactical offensives against government forces in solidarity with the holiday season and the Party's 55th anniversary.

The CPP's central committee and NPA's national operations command shared their statement to the media as the communists are set to commemorate their founding anniversary on December 26.

"To mark the significance of the upcoming 55th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, we hereby declare to all units of the New People's Army across the country to observe a two-day suspension of tactical offensives starting at 0001 hours of December 25 and ending on 2359 hours of December 26," said the CPP-NPA.

"The two-day ceasefire aims to allow the peasant masses and NPA units in their area to conduct assemblies, meetings or gatherings to celebrate the Party's anniversary, look back at past achievements, and pay tribute to all heroes and martyrs of the Philippine revolution. This ceasefire declaration is also in solidarity with people's traditional holiday celebrations."

The Philippine National Police earlier said that they will not recommend a cessation of hostilities against the CPP-NPA during the celebration of the Yuletide season.

AFP: 'Enough with deception, lay down arms'

Asked by Philstar.com if the government plans on releasing a similar ceasefire announcement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar failed to provide a clear-cut response.

"What we want is for them to lay down their arms while there is still time. Enough of their deception and crimes!" said Aguilar in a message sent through Facebook Messenger.

"Their ammunitions are depleted and their members, supporters included, are surrendering. Don’t waste your time listening to them. Or reading their empty statement."

The AFP official however reported that a 50-minute encounter between government troops from the 95th Infantry Batallion and the NPA ensued in Brgy. San Carlos, Gattaran, Cagayan on Saturday morning.



A female and male combatant from the Red Fighters were said to have died while no casualties were incurred by government forces. Among those that were allegedly seized during the encounter were high-powered firearms.

The identities of the two alleged NPA casualties are still being investigated.

"They will be defeated," Aguilar said. "All Filipinos want to see the end of them."

On high alert, will defend itself

Amid the ceasefire declaration, all units of the NPA were placed in "high alert" and were ordered to be vigilant and ready to "act in self-defense to counter and frustrate hostile movement or actions of enemy units within the scope of the NPA's guerrilla fronts and areas of operations."

Members of the NPA and civilians under rebel influence were likewise advised to maintain a "high level of secrecy in the conduct of their activities."

"Guerrilla offensives of the NPA can resume immediately at 0001 hours of December 27," the CPP-NPA said.

"Amid worsening economic crisis and intensifying oppression under the Marcos regime, the NPA must continue to carry out extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare to fight state terrorism and defend the people's democratic rights and interests."

The Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella organization of revolutionary Maoists in the Philippines, earlier agreed to start new peace negotiations in the name of "reuniting the nation" amid foreign security threats and serious socioeconomic and environmental issues.

This is despite an earlier pronouncement of National Security Council assistant director general Jonathan Malaya stating that the government will "end the CPP-NPA threat in two years."

The CPP-NPA-NDFP have been waging more than five decades of armed rebellion in their pursuit of ending foreign domination (imperialism), landlessness (feudalism) and inherent corruption in government (bureaucrat capitalism).

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