By Genalyn Kabiling
Government security forces are prepared to respond if attacked by communist rebels during the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Duterte, an official from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday.
Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya made the statement after expressing his dismay over the rebel group’s reluctance to reciprocate the truce amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nakakalungkot na ang naging tugon naman po ng Communist Party of the Philippines ay wala pa raw basehan para sila din ay magdeklara ng ceasefire (It is unfortunate that the Communist Party of the Philippines’ response is that there is no basis yet to declare a ceasefire),” he said in the “Laging Handa” public briefing on People’s Television network.
“Ang ating kapulisan ay ready naman ‘yan — kung sakaling sila ay tirahin ng mga New People’s Army, lalaban sila (Our policemen are ready to fight back in case they are attacked by the New People’s Army),” he said.
Malaya urged the communist rebels to put the country’s interest before their own, especially as the nation is confronted with a public health emergency. “Sana naman ilagay naman ang (We hope they will put the) national interest above their own interest,” he said.
President Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army effective March 19 to April 15.
The Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, have been ordered to “cease and desist” from carrying out offensive military and police operations during the ceasefire period.
Communist leader Jose Maria Sison reportedly said there was no basis to reciprocate the government’s ceasefire with the group. He said Duterte’s ceasefire declaration was “premature, if not sincere, and false.”
Malaya was saddened by the rebel group’s response. He bewailed that the communist rebels demonstrated that they have no love for country.
“Ang buong bansa po ay nasa state of national calamity, ngunit kung ang tugon po ng kaliwa ay ganito, lumalabas lang po ang tunay nilang kulay (The entire country is under a state of national calamity but if this is the response of the left, it only shows their true colors),” he said.
“Walang silang pagmamahal sa bansa at ang gusto lang nila ay pabagsakin ang gobyerno kasama na rin ang taumbayan (They have no love for the country and they want to bring down the government and the people),” he said.