By Zea Capistrano
DAVAO CITY – The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered a nationwide ceasefire to all the units of the New People’s Army, including the people’s militias, from midnight of December 23, 2019 until January 7, 2020.
But the CPP added in the order that the unilateral ceasefire “shall take effect upon the issuance of the corresponding and reciprocal ceasefire orders in the form of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) to be issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).”
In a statement on Sunday, the CPP said the order for a nationwide ceasefire was made upon the recommendation of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which signed a joint statement with the Philippine government’s negotiating panel for unilateral ceasefires.
“During the ceasefire period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the GRP,” it said.
The CPP added that the NPA and the people’s militias “shall be on defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels.”
“They shall nonetheless maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against any hostile actions or movements contrary to the ceasefire order. Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by hostile forces,” it said.
The recommendation for unilateral ceasefires by the two negotiating panels aim to create a positive environment in preparation for the revival of the stalled peace talks which was terminated in 2017.
As of press time, the government has yet to issue any statement on the ceasefire recommendation of the GRP and NDF peace panels.