TIMELINE: Gov't, CPP-NPA ceasefire breakdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2017 01:57 AM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday announced that he has terminated the government’s ceasefire with the communist New People's Army (NPA) following a series of armed clashes in the past weeks.

The development is seen as a setback in the peace talks, which resumed in August 2016. 

Since his assumption to the presidency, Duterte has been vocal in his desire to put an end to one of the world's longest-running Maoist insurgency which has claimed roughly 30,000 lives since the 1960s. 

Here is the timeline leading to the breakdown in the ceasefire:

APRIL 27, 2016

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said he sees the possibility of a ceasefire between communist rebels and the government if Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidency.

Sison, who has been in exile in the Netherlands since 1987, said returning home is also an option under a Duterte administration.

Sison also revealed that he has spoken with Duterte on the importance of resuming the peace talks if the latter wins the presidency.

MAY 23, 2016

Incoming president Duterte said he was willing to release political prisoners even if no peace agreement has yet been reached with communist rebels. 

Duterte said he has no problems with a general amnesty, even for CPP leaders Wilma and Benito Tiamzon, as long as they deal in good faith with his administration.

JULY 25, 2016

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with leftist rebels as part of his bid to end Asia's longest running Maoist insurgency.

"To the CPP, let us end decades of ambuscades, we are going nowhere and it is getting bloodier by the day. To immediately stop violence in the ground, restore peace in the communities, I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF effective immediately and call on...the NDF and its forces to respond," he said.

JULY 30, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte revoked a ceasefire with communist rebels after the insurgents failed to reciprocate his declaration at the end of a 24-hour deadline.

Duterte issued the ultimatum after a government militia man was killed and four others were wounded in what the military said was an ambush by the NPA in the southern province of Compostela Valley. The rebels owned up to the attack, but said they were thwarting an Army offensive.

AUGUST 1, 2016

A deadly clash erupted between government troops and the NPA in Surigao del Norte, two days after President Duterte withdrew a unilateral ceasefire with leftist rebels. 

An NPA rebel was killed in the encounter which the AFP said was brought about by complaints against the NPA's extortion activities in Malimono town.

[DEADLY CLASH: Clash erupts between NPA, AFP after truce glitch]

AUGUST 19, 2016

The CPP-NPA declared a 7-day unilateral ceasefire ahead of the scheduled peace talks with the government.

The declaration was made following the temporary release of their leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma Tiamzon.

The CPP, in a statement, said the ceasefire would take effect starting 12:01 a.m. on August 21 and would last until 11:59 p.m. on August 27.

AUGUST 22, 2016

The Philippine government and communist rebels opened the first round of peace talks under the Duterte administration in Oslo, Norway to try and end nearly five decades of conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.

The two sides agreed on three issues: 

-Affirmation of previously-signed agreements;

-Reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list;

-Accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and economic reforms; and, end of hostilities and disposition of forces, including the Joint Monitoring Committee.

AUGUST 26, 2016

The Philippine government and communist guerrillas signed an indefinite ceasefire deal to facilitate peace talks aimed at ending one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.

Both sides agreed to implement unilateral, indefinite ceasefires -- something that has never been achieved before in the peace process.

AUGUST 27, 2016

The NPA released four captives in Surigao City, one day after the government and the insurgents declared an indefinite ceasefire to fast-track peace negotiations.

Police officers Caleb Sinaca, Jayroll Bagayas and Santiago Lamarilao and a police civilian employee, Rodrigo Angob, were freed in Mat-I village two months after they were seized from a cockpit arena.

OCTOBER 7, 2016

The government panel and communist rebels resumed the second round of peace talks in Oslo, Norway.

Prior to the second round of talks, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Silvestre Bello expressed hopes of drafting an agreement on an indefinite joint ceasefire as discussed by both parties in the previous round of talks.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016

Duterte received Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari in Malacanang in a bid to widen support for his efforts to end the decades-long Muslim rebellion in the south.

Misuari, who expressed support for Duterte’s peace process efforts claimed that the MNLF was shut out from the peace deal forged by 

Duterte's predecessor, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, with its rival, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014. 

DECEMBER 9, 2016

President Duterte declined to order the release of 130 political prisoners unless communist rebels agree to sign a bilateral ceasefire with the government.

Duterte lamented that he had given too much, too soon, saying he would lose leverage in the peace talks if he concedes in releasing all political prisoners.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has been demanding the release of political prisoners through a general amnesty proclamation.

DECEMBER 28, 2016

The NPA threatened to end its unilateral ceasefire unless the government fulfills its promise to release over 400 political prisoners.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison called out the President for not delivering on his promises, saying the peace talks seemed to be no different from those held under previous administrations.

JANUARY 25, 2017

The third round of talks between the government and communist rebels resumed in Rome and ended with no permanent ceasefire deal but maintained that the unilateral ceasefires of both parties will remain.

JANUARY 30, 2017

The military accused NPA rebels of being behind the ambush and killing of two soldiers in Echague, Isabela.

The slain soldiers were identified as Corporal Daryl Camangeg and Corporal Virgilio Herrera. They were escorting barangay officials when armed men fired at them. The NPA did not confirm or deny their involvement in the ambush.

FEBRUARY 1, 2017

The New People’s Army (NPA) said it will withdraw its unilateral ceasefire but maintained that it will continue to engage in peace with the Duterte administration. 

Communists claimed that the military has been encroaching into rebel-held areas.

FEBRUARY 3, 2017

Duterte terminated the government’s ceasefire with the communist rebels after soldiers were killed in a series of armed clashes.