Negros NPA to observe ceasefire despite continuing AFP offensives

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Island announced it will abide by the two-day ceasefire order announced by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the revolutionary army’s National Operational Command.

Despite the absence of a reciprocal truce declaration from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC) of the NPA said its five guerrilla fronts in the south and north of the island will celebrate the CPP’s 55th founding anniversary with the peasant masses.

Their celebrations would center on honoring Negros Island heroes and martyrs such as Rogelio Posadas, Ericson Acosta, Juanito Magbanua (Romeo Nanta) and many others, it added.

The CPP and the NPA said Saturday their unilateral ceasefire order shall be in effect between 00:01 of December 25, Christmas Day, and 23:59 of December 26, the CPP’s anniversary.

They however cautioned the NPA to keep their celebrations secret and to remain in high alert due to possible attacks by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On Christmas eve, the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government has yet to respond to the NPA declaration of suspension of military offensives.

Both the revolutionary Left and the Manila government traditionally reciprocate such declarations over the Christmas and New Year, the last one being in 2019.

The CPP and the GRP last declared reciprocal unilateral ceasefires at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

In a radio interview over 92.3 Radyo5 True FM last Friday, December 22, defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro said the GRP is unlikely to declare a holiday truce with the NPA.

“There is no movement in the exploratory talks (between the GRP and the NDFP)…AFP operations shall continue uninterrupted,” Teodoro said, referring to the parties’ announcement last November 29 that a series of dialogue happened for a possible resumption of formal peace negotiations. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)