Government forces have been directed to avoid “hostile actions” and be “friendly” with the communist rebels following the ceasefire formally declared by President Duterte.
Amid the ongoing peace talks between the government and the rebel group in Oslo, Norway, the President said the ceasefire took effect last Wednesday night and hopefully will last for a “long, long period” to bring peace in the country.
“It’s 11:35 p.m., as of today, I am declaring a ceasefire so I’m joining the Communist Party of the Philippines in its desire to seek peace for this nation,” the President said in a late night press conference in Davao City last Wednesday.
“I am ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines pati ang Philippine National Police as of today, meron tayong ceasefire so we avoid hostile actions against each other, we do not go into any antagonistic behavior in front of whoever,” he said.
Duterte added, “As a matter of fact, I am encouraging people in government: The military and the police to be friendly with the forces of the revolutionary government of the Communist Party of the Philippines.”
The President said the ceasefire declaration was made after getting the “consensus” of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and all military commanding generals.
He expressed hope that the ceasefire would “go a long, long period for a peaceful resolution of the communist rebellion against the Republic of the Philippines.”
Duterte also appealed to the government troops not to be hurt by the truce declaration, citing his resolve to forge peace, not war, in the country. Many lives have already been lost from both government and the rebel group for the past 45 years of the rebellion, he added.
“It pains me deeply to see people dying for an ideology. Pwede naman nating mapag-usapan ng mapayapa, just like now,” the President said.
“My main task is to seek the peace for my country. I am not a President who would enjoy waging war against the citizens of this Republic,” he added.
Duterte said his “regret for the nation” was the peace talks with the rebels should have been pursued a long time ago to avoid the casualties. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)