LUCENA CITY, Quezon: President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened to lift the unilateral ceasefire he had declared with communist rebels following a New People’s Army (NPA) attack against government militiamen.
In a speech before soldiers at Camp Guillermo Nakar, the President said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front (NDF) should give him an explanation before midnight on Thursday or he will scrap the declaration of ceasefire.
“I am issuing a warning to the communists. Are we in a truce or are we not? Give me an answer by tonight because tomorrow, I will cancel [the ceasefire],” Duterte said.
The President said he had talked to militant lawmakers as well as government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello 3rd about the incident
“I am demanding an explanation from the CPP … If you do not honor or you kill a single soldier or a Cafgu (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit), who is also a soldier of the
Republic, let’s forget it. Let’s just fight,” Duterte said.
Following Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire during his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police suspended operations against communist rebels.
The NDF, however, set two conditions before reciprocating: the official text of the ceasefire declaration and the release of more than 500 political prisoners.
On Wednesday, members of the Cafgu Armed Auxiliary in Davao del Norte were attacked by communist rebels resulting in the death of a militiaman. Four others were wounded.
Before meeting the soldiers, the President attended a command conference with military officials in Camp Nakar, home of the military’s Southern Luzon Command.