CPP lifts ceasefire, military extends truce to January 15

Jan. 02, 2013

The CPP said it abbreviated the ceasefire order to ensure that NPA units and people’s militias “will not be placed in an unduly disadvantaged position” when the AFP supposedly ends its Somo by Wednesday midnight.

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued a statement Wednesday informing all its New People’s Army (NPA) “commands and units” and “people’s militia” that the ceasefire it temporarily ordered last December 20 ends at 11:59 PM today instead on January 15.

“The shorter ceasefire is due to the Aquino government’s failure to extend its ceasefire order to January 15,” the CPP said.

The CPP already warned that should Aquino fail to issue a reciprocal ceasefire, it will cut short the duration of its unilateral ceasefire.  The NDFP, meantime, has been sending letters to the GPH negotiating panel and special representatives to remind them of the synchronized ceasefire agreement, but to no avail.

A synchronized ceasefire was agreed by the special representatives of the Philippine Government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to create favorable conditions for the resumption of peace talks set this January 2013.  The agreement was made in a special meeting facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) at The Hague, Netherlands last December 17 to 18.

The CPP issued a temporary ceasefire order on December 20.  However, President Noynoy Aquino did not issue a corresponding ceasefire declaration, not even extending the suspension of offensive military operations (Somo) set on December 16 to January 2.

Makasubo nga mo-end ang ceasefire tungod ani lang nga rason,” United Church of Christ of the Philippines Bishop Modesto Villasanta told davaotoday.com.  He added, “Hinaot nga adunay igong political will ang Presidente sa paghimo og deklarasyon isip commander-in-chief.”

The CPP said that “Aquino’s failure to promptly issue his own unilateral ceasefire order in accordance with the agreement reached between the NDFP and his government’s special representatives raises serious questions about his government’s sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations.”

It added that Aquino’s “non-adherence” to the temporary ceasefire agreement “is a serious act of contempt against the peace negotiations supported and facilitated by the RNG.”

Readjusted military Somo

But just hours after the CPP declaration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) readjusted its Somo, extending it from 00:01 AM January 3 to 11:59 PM of January 15.

AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos reportedly said that the move was “in view of the GPH-NDFP agreement to implement a nationwide ceasefire” and to “further demonstrate AFP’s commitment, sincerity and resolve for peace in spite of conflicts with the insurgent group.”

The CPP already said in the statement that it abbreviated the ceasefire order to ensure that NPA units and people’s militias “will not be placed in an unduly disadvantaged position” when the AFP supposedly ends its Somo by Wednesday midnight.

It advised the “NPA and the people’s militias” to “immediately assume an offensive posture and confront and frustrate the enemy campaigns of suppression, defend the people against the fascist onslaughts of the AFP and the armed agents of the Aquino regime.”

AFP’s Burgos said that despite the Somo, they will continue their peace and development and humanitarian assistance programs and defense counter-measures.

Ceasefire violations by the military

But Ka Simon Santiago, political director of NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional

Operations Command, said they are doubtful if the military will truly abide with the agreed ceasefire until January 15.

In a phone interview by davaotoday.com, Santiago cited the violations of the AFP in its own Somo here in the region.  He said that the 6th and 10th Infantry Division continued their offensive military operations in the peasant villages of Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao City.

Since its unilateral Somo, according to Santiago, the military scoured the villages of Old Balatukan, New Israel and Biangan in Makilala, Cotabato; putting up two batteries of howitzer cannon, checkpoints and subjected motorists to body searches.

In Paquibato District, Davao City, he said, the 10th ID deployed three sections of troops in Mapula village to Barko-barko village, Lumiad village to Riverside and Pandaitan village last December 27.  A day after, he added, another section of 69th IB troops arrived in Malabog operating in Km. 24, and another section operating in sub-village Ktc to Malabog village.

The communist leader also said that between December 25 to 27, military troops conducted checkpoints in Paquibato to stop people from attending the CPP’s anniversary celebration.  He added that in Calinan, troops from the 69th IB and 84th IB intimidated residents in the sub-village of Isled, Damilag village, forcing them to tell the NPAs whereabouts.

But in a radio interview, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the 10th ID-AFP, denied Santiago’s claims, saying they have not violated anything as there are no troop movements during the ceasefire.

Naka-menos si Paniza sa katawhan sa Davao City.  Gihimo niya kining mga ignorante.  Ang presensya sa deployment of troops dili lang tag-lima, tag-pito apan trucks,” Santiago said.  He added, “Nagpakita lang nga ang kagustohan sa AFP ang pakiggera o pakigpatay tungod kay naa ning military operations, mass up of troops sa guerilla territories.  Pagpanglapas kini sa ispiritu ug kinaiya sa nahiusahang ceasefire.  Nagbutang pa kini sa pagpanghasi sa katawhang mag-uuma sa mga hilit nga dapit sa rehiyon.”

Doubtful authority and status

Due to Aquino’s non-compliance of the synchronized ceasefire agreement, the CPP noted that similar temporary ceasefires in the future “become infeasible except perhaps under some extraordinary circumstance.”  It added that it also casted doubts on the authority and status of Aquino’s special representatives and negotiating panel.

The GPH’s special representatives were Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Secretary Ronald Llamas, GPH Negotiating Panel Chair lawyer Alexander Padilla, GPH Panel Member Efren Moncupa. GPH Panel Secretariat Head Director Maria Carla Munsayac-Villarta and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Undersecretary Jose Luis Gascon.

“Aquino will have to make clear whether his special representatives and negotiating panel actually had any authority at all to negotiate and sign agreements that Aquino would comply with,” the CPP said.

Talks between the NDFP and GPH have been stalled for two years.  The CPP blamed it to the GPH’s “adamant refusal” to comply with previous agreements like the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.  (With a report from Jetty Ayop-Ohaylan /davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus