Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison has advised his allies in the rebel movement at home to declare a unilateral truce as a response to the United Nations call for an immediate global ceasefire amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
In his letter, seen in Manila on Tuesday, Sison said that as Chief Political Consultant, he was advising the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to recommend to its principal, the NDFP National Council, the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Communist Party of the Philippines to the New People’s Army.
This would respond to the call of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Guterres, in a brief speech at the UN headquarters in New York, said it was time to put armed conflict on lockdown and “focus on the true fight of our lives.”
“The NDFP and the broad masses of the people themselves need to refrain from launching tactical offensives to gain more time and opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to look after the health and over-all welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” Sison said in his letter.
But the rebel leader said once a unilateral ceasefire was declared, the NPA must be vigilant and prepared to act in self-defense against any tactical offensive launched by the military, police and paramilitary forces.
“The world must know that long before the belated quarantine declarations and repressive measures of the GRP, the NDFP and the revolutionary forces have been informing, training and mobilizing the people on how to fight the pandemic,” he said.
Sison initially refused to reciprocate the ceasefire declared by the government, calling it “premature, if not insincere and false.”
He said enemy forces had persisted in launching tactical offensives and bombing of communities in the countryside as well as campaigns of red tagging, abductions and murder in the urban areas, adding “ it is understandable why the NDFP has desisted from reciprocating the false unilateral ceasefire declared by the GRP last March 15, 2020.”
“While committed to their unilateral ceasefire declaration, the NPA and revolutionary forces can remain vigilant and militant in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people not only against the Covid-19 pandemic and the far deadlier Duterte virus of tyranny and corruption,” he added.