By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured the public on Friday that the police and the military are prepared to fend off possible attacks from terrorist and lawless groups amid the current health crisis.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya gave this assurance after assailing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) for its outright rejection of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Duterte to allow the police and military to focus on their jobs to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In turning it down, the NDFP insisted that there is no clear basis to declare a unilateral ceasefire even after President Duterte ordered his troops and police to stop their operations.
In a statement, NDFP chief political consultant and CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said, “the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has issued its unilateral ceasefire declaration in advance of any such declaration by the NDFP. However, from the viewpoint of the NDFP, there is yet no clear basis to reciprocate the aforesaid declaration of the GRP.”
Sison disclosed that “there is communication going on between the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels. But there is yet no agreement for reciprocal unilateral ceasefires in connection with certain considerations, requirements, and modalities. There has to be catch-up on these matters, if still possible. The ceasefire declaration by the GRP or the Duterte regime is premature, if not insincere and false.”
He added: “The NDFP is not assured and satisfied that the reciprocal unilateral ceasefires are based on national unity against COVID-19, the appropriate solution of the pandemic as a medical problem and protection of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, including workers, health workers, those with any serious ailments and the political prisoners.”
Sison explained that unless it receives sufficient assurances from the GRP, the NDFP will be inclined to think that the GRP unilateral ceasefire declaration is not sincere and is not intended to invite reciprocation by the NDFP but is meant to be a mere psywar trick.
Malaya said the NDFP’s response only showed its true colors, stressing the terrorist group has absolutely no concern for the country’s welfare even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as they still want to wage war against government forces.
He explained that since the national and local governments, including the police and military, are inundated with various challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, the least that the communists should have done is to not hamper government efforts to serve the people by reciprocating the government’s declaration of the ceasefire.
“How do we expect the police and military to do their jobs properly to man the checkpoints, deliver relief goods to indigent families, maintain peace and order, and so on and so forth if they are always looking over their shoulder for that NPA ambush or attack on construction sites to extort revolutionary taxes?” he asked.
Malaya added that the government’s declaration of ceasefire will give the Philippine National Police (PNP) the opportunity to fully serve the people since DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has also declared a suspension of offensive police operations.
“This act of the CPP-NPA-NDFP clearly proves that for them the declaration of a ceasefire is just politics and propaganda. Ceasefires, peace talks are just extensions of the armed struggle and are simply tools to exact political concessions from the government even in the face of the suffering of the Filipino people,” Malaya concluded.