MANILA – A month after cancelling a truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) due to the latter’s disregard of his ultimatum, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “glad” that the militants issued a ceasefire prior to start of peace talks in Norway on Monday.
"The President has already walked an extra mile for peace. He is glad that the CPP/NPA/NDF showed a similar gesture of goodwill as a sign of sincerity to the peace process days prior to our talks in Oslo, Norway," said Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar in a statement.
Malacanang is optimistic that "mutual efforts of both sides" would help the negotiations be fruitful, and lead to an end to "one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies," Andanar said.
In an interview on ANC’s Dateline, Andanar said that they expect word within the day regarding an announcement of a government ceasefire to reciprocate the CPP-NPA’s gesture of goodwill.
On Friday, the CPP-NPA declared a seven-day unilateral ceasefire which will last from 12:01 a.m. on August 21 until 11:59 p.m. on August 27. This is a gesture of goodwill in time for formal talks between the government and the communists in Oslo from August 22 to 26.
Consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) including communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were temporarily freed this week so they could join the talks in Norway.
"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-NPA said in a statement, and added that they are open to extending the ceasefire "upon completion of the release of all political prisoners."