The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) today issued a unilateral declaration of a seven-day ceasefire to celebrate and bolster the resumption of formal GRP-NDFP peace talks.
The ceasefire will take effect starting 12:01 a.m. of August 21 and will last until 11:59 p.m. of August 27. The formal talks between the negotiating panels of the NDFP and GRP are scheduled for August 22-26 and will be held in Oslo, Norway.
“This ceasefire declaration is encouraged by the GRP’s facilitation of the release of nearly all NDFP consultants who are set to participate in peace negotiations in the course of the next several months,” said the CPP and NPA.
Earlier today, the GRP released NDFP consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon, who were leading members of the CPP and key consultants of the NDFP when they were arrested in March 2014.
“The CPP anticipates the release of the rest of the NDFP consultants so that everyone can participate in the peace talks.” It cited the case of Ka Eduardo Sarmiento who was arrested in February 2009, slapped with trumped-up murder charges and unjustly convicted in December 2013. He is currently serving a life sentence in Muntinlupa.
The CPP reiterated its “deep appreciation of the determined efforts of GRP President Duterte to push forward and accelerate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations as a means of addressing the roots of the civil war in the Philippines.”
“We hope that this ceasefire declaration will be reciprocated by the GRP as a show of all-out determination to move forward with peace negotiations,” said the CPP. It clarified, however, that the ceasefire declaration will take effect even without GRP reciprocation.
“With or without reciprocation by the GRP, the NPA must maintain a high-level of alertness against enemy troop movements,” said the CPP. “Even while ready to engage in defensive action, the NPA will exert efforts to carry out early counter-maneuvers to avoid armed encounters during the specified ceasefire period.
The CPP anticipates the upcoming Oslo peace talks to discuss the recommendation for the GRP President to issue a general amnesty to pave the way for the release of all political prisoners who are mostly worker and peasant activists slapped with criminal charges to cause their prolonged detention.
“To further bolster peace negotiations, the CPP and NPA are also open to discuss the possibility of a longer ceasefire upon completion of the release of all political prisoners,” said the CPP.