Peace talks won’t progress, not all NPA ground units want it


FOUR days after he declared a unilateral government ceasefire in the war against the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front’s New People’s Army, President Rody Duterte had to issue an ultimatum to the CPP-NDF NPA to reciprocate. He had to do it, or he could face a military mutiny after NPAs ambushed government troops in Davao del Norte, killing a member of the AFP-trained and -operated Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and wounding four others.

The President announced his ultimatum to the communist rebels on Friday while speaking at the wake of the slain CAFGU member in Capalong, Davao del Norte.

The deadline he gave the CPP-NDF-NPA leadership to reciprocate his peaceable posture—by ordering their NPA soldiers to obey a ceasefire in their war against the government—is at 5 p.m. today, July 30.

He had to give the ultimatum to the communist rebels or possibly face the risk of a military mutiny. For immediately after the President’s ceasefire declaration on Monday, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya declared the suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the communist rebels. The Philippine National Police top command also issued a SOMO order to all units nationwide.

The AFP chief on Monday ordered all commanders of unified commands, major services, and AFP-wide service support units to observe the SOMO against the communist rebels. The PNP brass’ SOMO also in effect told all police forces in the archipelago to stop operations against NPAs.

The AFP SOMO directive issued by Visaya ordered the cessation of all military offensives against the CPP, NDF and the NPA, “including the conduct of combat maneuvers that may be construed as provocative acts that may be deemed [to be in violation]of the SOMO.”

But while the CPP leaders welcomed Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire order, they have not issued until now (at the time of this writing on the afternoon of Friday) any order to the field, where NPA’s underground units are supposed to be active in every province in our country, to observe a ceasefire.

According to the AFP command, “the government military is treating the ceasefire and peace talks with communist rebels with ‘guarded optimism’ while hoping that the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communists will continue without constraints.” And, as of Thursday, July 28, the AFP was still “hopeful that the Communist Party of the Philippines, its political arm the National Democratic Front (NDF) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) have the same aspiration that the government has for lasting peace to be attained for the sake of the Filipino people.”

Apparently, the CAFGU unit that NPAs ambushed in Davao del Norte was more optimistic than guarded.

But ambushes of government troops by NPAs during a ceasefire have happened several times before.

As members of the government peace panels, including those under Duterte, have observed: Maybe the communists at the highest levels of Jose Maria Sison and the designated CPP-NDF negotiators really want to end the war with the Philippine government, on their terms of course. But many of the NPA bands on the ground don’t want to give up their power to terrorize their own communities and raid army and police units every now and then.

The truth is that members of the CPP-NDF hierarchy don’t all have the respect of every single soldier or band of NPA soldiers. Many of whom are not ideologically committed to the Communist Party at all.


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  1. juan bandurias on

    Duterte has already given the DSWD, DAR, DOLE, NAPC, etc. to the CPP NPA NDF. In response to this ambush, he should kick the communist secretaries, usecs, asecs, etc. out of these departments before they could make more damage.Already these appointees are behaving like warlords waging a vendetta on hapless long-time employees of these government agencies without due process. If he doesn’t do this, the more he will be abetting the public’s perception that he is actually a running dog of the CPP NPA NDF, and that his threat to veer away from the peace talks and take back his ceasefire declaration is nothing but a hollow threat, just like his showtime performance with Peter Lim who he accused as a big time drug lord and threatened to kill but nothing happened afterwards. Kumpare pala sila.

  2. The best way to deal with NPA is to have an open amnesty to all those who are willing to give peace a chance with a promise of security and livelihood . But those who opted to fight the government should prepared an all out offensive without restraint. So 2 choice Lang walang pangatlo choice. Hope the NPA hierarchy will give peace a chance and reciprocate the government initiative. As they NPA should know very well it’s hard to have a good president like DU30. if they forgo these opportunity it a big lost for them.

  3. Green lacson on

    the CPP-NPA has multiple factions ( the “rejectionists and the reformists” as they call it). One group belonging to JOMA has tactics of doing operation from the countryside to the urban centers- “the guerrilla warfare type” . While the Reformists are those who uses “assimilation tactics” , in which they silently took positions in the areas of education, gov’t agencies, political arena, forming different private associations/organization and even in religious communities. There goals is to penetrate the urban centers, secretly but powerfully influencing more adherents and members. Factions don’t precisely agrees to one another. So that , any call or agreement offered by President Duterte do not necessarily address to the left wing in general.

  4. Ignacio Balbutin on

    The communists especially their armed group the NPA will never want peace. Living in the jungle with full control of their territories and living out of extortion has become their way of life. Even in the high hierarchy obtain peace with the government, I am sure their armed group will never lay down their arms. Thailand obliterated the communists through an all out war alone and I’m sure the present administration can do it under the leadership of President Duterte. The high hierarchy maybe issued a ceasefire but that will amount to nothing because the NPA will never honor it. They have that deep hatred against the army and vice versa

  5. Perhaps the best strategy was to hold out the olive branch first. Many insurgency groups are highly fractured and don’t have strong chains of command. But if the initiative can bring the core of the resistance to the peace table, that is probably a good start. It may be better to have the core of the insurgency incorporated into mainstream society. And then, dealing with a smaller rogue minority through military/police action.