'Don't expect quick submissions or instant surrenders'
MANILA - Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte should be "patient" after the chief executive issued an ultimatum to the CPP-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) to reciprocate his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.
Sison, in a statement to ABS-CBN News, said the communist movement is still studying the military's actions after Duterte's unilateral ceasefire announcement during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.
"But it would only be on July 26 that the SOMO [Suspension of Military Operations] of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] would be issued, with no clarity about many things, like no end yet of the end of ongoing AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] national and campaign military campaigns against the NPA and also the occupation of Lumad communities, schools, health clinics and barangay halls," he said.
"Only on July 27 did the PNP [Philippine National Police] issue a SOPO [Suspension of Police Operations], which among other things, provided for the continuance of 'legal offensives' in violation of JASIG [Joint Agreement between the GRP and the NDF on Safety and Immunity Guarantees], CARHRIHL [Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law] and the Hernandez political offense doctrine."
Duterte, a self-proclaimed socialist, earlier said said he is giving the communists until 5 p.m. on Saturday (July 30) to declare their own unilateral ceasefire.
He said he will push through with offensive operations against the CPP-NPA if the rebel group won't reciprocate.
Duterte's statement came following an ambush of government troops by the NPA in Davao del Norte, which killed one CAFGU.
READ: Duterte issues ultimatum to CPP-NPA
Sison said the CPP's Central Committee also wants to find out if political prisoners will be released through a general amnesty.
"President Duterte should be patient and not expect quick submissions or instant surrenders from highly principled and experienced revolutionaries," he said. "It took at least three days for the Duterte government to make clear what is the content of its unilateral ceasefire order."
"The CPP and NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines] should be given enough time to study the implications and consequences of the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] ceasefire order and what will soon be the CPP unilateral ceasefire order to the NPA," he added.
Sison said Luis Jalandoni, peace panel chair of National Democratic Front of the Philippines, sent a July 25 letter to government panel negotiator Silvestre Bello III, saying that at the latest, the formal exchange of the documents of unilateral ceasefire can be done during the resumption of formal peace talks from August 20 to 27.