Communist rebels on Sunday night declared a one-week ceasefire for the resumption of formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the ceasefire will start at 12:01 a.m. of Feb. 15 and end midnight of Feb. 21. It, however, indicated that the truce will take effect only if the government declares a reciprocal ceasefire, noting that they will remain “vigilant” against “civil-military” operations.
“We hope that our act of goodwill and the mutual ceasefire between the (government) and the NDFP will improve the atmosphere for peace negotiations particularly upon the resumption of formal talks between the [Government of the Philippines] and NDFP Negotiating Panels in Oslo on February 15-21, 2011,” the CPP central committee said.
The rebel group also said it is hoping that the ceasefire would “inspire the release of political prisoners, the full implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the end of human rights violations in consonance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.”
It said the ceasefire will be effective upon the “reciprocal and concurrent” ceasefire order from the government to its police, military and paramilitary forces.
Under the “mutual ceasefire,” the CPP’s armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), shall “cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary forces of the (government).”
While the mutual ceasefire is in effect, NPA shall be in a defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels. They shall also remain vigilant against any encroachment on their territory, as well as surveillance or offensive operations by government forces.
It said the NPA will also remain vigilant against operations “including those under the signboards of ‘peace and development,’ ‘civil-military’ and ‘peace and order operations.'”
“Active self-defense shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy,” it added.
The ceasefire also aims to allow consultations with the people on their demands for fundamental social, economic and political changes as the way to a just and lasting peace.
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