No decision yet on ceasefire with Reds

MANILA, Philippines, April 21 ------ There are growing calls for the government to end the ceasefire with communists because the rebels continue to commit atrocities even when Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine, Malacañang said yesterday. President Duterte declared a ceasefire with the communists from March 19 to April 15 to allow government forces to focus on enforcing measures designed to contain the coronavirus disease 2019. The rebels reciprocated and announced their own ceasefire, which started last March 26 and ended on April 15. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extended the ceasefire until April 30 after Duterte prolonged the Luzon-wide quarantine to allow health authorities to conduct more coronavirus tests. The government has yet to decide whether to reciprocate the rebels’ action. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there have been observations that the communists are not complying with their own suspension of offensives. “I think many are recommending that we do not go for it (extension of ceasefire) but the President has yet to make a decision,” Roque said at a press briefing yesterday. “It seems that the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) failed to act in good faith. While the President has not made a decision, our question is why did they (rebels) declare a unilateral ceasefire if they are not going to comply with it?” he added. Roque cited three incidents that he said reflected the communists’ failure to honor their word: the alleged seizing of relief goods in Eastern Samar (although there are media reports saying local officials had denied this took place); an encounter in Rodriguez, Rizal, and a hacking incident in Surigao. The communists have also accused the government of committing atrocities by launching 13 attacks from March 16 to April 15. Source: