MANILA - The COVID-19 pandemic is exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison’s chance to prove his patriotism, Malacañang said Friday as it criticized his doubt of the government’s motives for declaring a unilateral truce due to the public health crisis.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo criticized Sison, who refused to reciprocate the government’s ceasefire, for the communist leader’s supposed “insensitivity” over the disease outbreak as more cases of COVID-19 are recorded day by day.
“…Mr. Sison, in these times of national health emergency and calamity, would rather have a hostile environment where Filipinos argue with, if not kill, each other,” Panelo said Friday.
“This circumstance is a golden opportunity for Mr. Sison to show his patriotism by extending his hands for peace, for the sake of the Filipino people,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday declared a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels that will last until April 15, 2020 as state forces were sent to man borders and enforce guidelines of the Luzon-wide lockdown.
Sison however responded by saying that rebels are not assured of the government's ceasefire declaration.
"The NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) is not assured and satisfied that the reciprocal unilateral ceasefires are based on national unity against [coronavirus disease 2019] (COVID-19)," he said.
“Unless it receives sufficient assurances from the GRP, the NDFP will be inclined to think that the GRP unilateral ceasefire declaration is not sincere and is not intended to invite reciprocation by the NDFP but is meant to be a mere psywar trick," he added.