By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang is hopeful that the communist rebel group will support the national efforts to combat the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the pronouncement after Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF), backed a ceasefire with the government in response to the United Nations’ call for a global truce between warring parties in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.
“It is about time they join the collective efforts of the nation to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” Panelo said in a message to reporters Tuesday.
Panelo earlier called on Sison to show his patriotism by extending his hands for peace amid the escalating number of cases of coronavirus in the country.
President Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing 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 truce.
Sison, founding chair of the CPP and chief political consultant of NDFP, initially refused to reciprocate the government’s ceasefire with the group, saying the truce was “premature, if not sincere, and false.”
But in a latest statement, he reportedly advised the NDFP peace panel to recommend the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire in response to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire. The rebel forces must refrain from launching offensives and instead help ensure the health and welfare of the people, according to Sison.#