'No more problem' with holiday truce, says Joma Sison

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 27 2019 09:48 AM

MANILA -- Exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison said Friday there was "no more problem" with continuing with a Christmas ceasefire with government forces, since the rebels' declaration was reciprocated.

Sison said government negotiators presented their own ceasefire order in response to the truce declaration from the National Democratic Front Panel.

"At this point in time, there is no more problem about continuing the CPP ceasefire order to the NPA," Sison said on Facebook, referring to the New People's Army.

"The best thing to do is cool down and proceed with the reciprocal ceasefires and let them generate goodwill and confidence in preparation for the resumption of the peace negotiations," he said.

Before Sison's Facebook post, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo dared him to cancel the rebels' unilateral ceasefire with the government.

"Sison and his comrades can proceed with the cancellation of the ceasefire and the President will oblige them," Panelo said.

"In the first place, they have violated their own declared unilateral ceasefire. So there is not even logic in their threat," he added.

Panelo was referring to separate attacks in Camarines Sur and in Iloilo on Monday that left one soldier dead and 8 other security forces wounded despite an ongoing holiday truce.

The government's peace panel and the NDFP earlier agreed to a nationwide "unilateral and reciprocal" ceasefire from Dec. 23 up to Jan. 7 after President Rodrigo Duterte hinted at a possible reopening of peace negotiations.