PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte lifted the unilateral ceasefire he announced at his first State of the Nation Address last July 25 against the New People’s Army (NPA) at seven o’clock this evening.
The announcement made through a statement by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza came an hour before the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is supposed to declare its own unilateral ceasefire order.
In lifting his ceasefire order, Duterte also placed all government security forces on high alert.
“I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land,” Dureza’s statement said.
Duterte also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to withdraw their ceasefire operational guidelines.
Yesterday, Duterte gave the CPP until five o’clock this afternoon to declare its own unilateral ceasefire order.
CPP founder Jose Maria Sison however said Duterte should not rush them into declaring their own ceasefire as they still have to study how the AFP and the PNP would implement them.
Tension between Duterte and the CPP started when NPA guerillas ambushed a composite Philippine Army, Citizen Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and Alamara paramilitary group in Kapalong, Davao del Norte last Wednesday that killed one and injured four others.
NPA spokesperson Aris Francisco said that the ambush was in self defense.
Alternative media outfit Kilab Multimedia also reported today that elements of the 8th Infantry Battallion of the Philippine Army and the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army strafed an ongoing wedding celebration in Sitio Alimpulos, Barangay Cawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
The report said that one resident was killed while seven were injured, including five minors.
One hundred fifty families have since fled Alimpulos, Kilab’s report said.
Dureza also reportedly said that there is no other factor that will affect the upcoming formal peace negotiations between the Duterte government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Oslo, Norway on August 20.
The NDFP through Sison for its part said it is still willing to talk with the government peace panel. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)