• ‘Ceasefire useless if NPA will not stop atrocities’

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    THE declaration of ceasefire by communist rebels will be useless if they will continue with their extortion activities and acts of atrocities, Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año said on Sunday.

    The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced on Saturday that it will restore a unilateral ceasefire not later than March 31 before the resumption of peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

    The CPP expects the government to reciprocate its move but Año said it will depend on President Rodrigo Duterte.

    The President had said he will have to consult other government officials before making a decision.

    Early last month, the government declared an all-out war against the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), whose members were tagged as terrorists by the President.

    Duterte earlier called the communists “spoiled brats” after he scrapped the government’s peace talks with the rebel group.

    The CPP lifted the unilateral ceasefire it declared last year because the government did not release some 400 political prisoners detained on various charges.

    “It depends on the President. We shall await his decision. [But] the CPP-NPA’s declaration for unilateral ceasefire is useless if they continue to extort money and burn equipment and properties,” Año said.

    He stressed that the AFP will not allow the rebels to violate the law “and imperil the lives of innocent people in the communities.”

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