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Palace welcomes Joma’s ceasefire recommendation

March 24, 2020 - Tuesday 6:03 PM by Jon Joaquin

Article Banner Image CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison (image from https://www.ndfp.org)

DAVAO CITY — Malacañang on Tuesday welcomed the recommendation of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Ma. Sison to issue a declaration of a ceasefire addressed to the New People’s Army (NPA) as government imposes stringent measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The recommendation of Mr. Jose Ma. Sison… to issue a declaration of a ceasefire addressed to the NPA purportedly in response to the call of the United Nations Secretary General for a global armistice is a positive development,” Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Sison, in a post on the website of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) website dated March 24, said as Chief Political Consultant, he was advising the negotiating panel of the NDFP to recommend to its principal, the NDFP National Council, the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the CPP to the NPA “in order to 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.”

“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 overall welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” he added.

Reacting to Sison’s statement, Panelo said the Filipino people “deserve and need a safe and peaceful environment where there is unimpeded movement of health workers, medical supplies, food, and other needs and services, in view of the current state of calamity and public health emergency.”

“We therefore welcome the cooperation of all, including those in the Left, to realize our goal of absolute peace during these times,” he added.

Panelo also said government hopes the NPA would not use the occasion to mobilize their forces.

“As Mr. Sison proposes concord to be realized during this global health crisis, it is also our hope that their group’s armed component on the ground would show genuine sincerity in laying down their arms and not use the occasion to mobilize their forces. The Palace looks forward that they would make good — and stay true to  — their words,” he said.