CPP dismisses AFP call for ceasefire as “worthless soundbyte”

By Information Bureau,
Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today dismissed as worthless soundbytes the recent press releases by Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) calling for a long-term ceasefire by the New People’s Army (NPA).

The CPP issued a statement in response to the position of former AFP chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., now presidential adviser on the peace process, that the NPA should declare a three-year ceasefire as a necessary precondition for the resumption of suspended peace talks between the government and the revolutionary movement. The statement was later echoed by AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres Jr., complaining further that the recent intensification of NPA tactical offensives shows that the CPP-NPA is not interested in peace negotiations.

“Other than these statements by Arroyo’s militarist peace adviser and the AFP spokesperson, the ruling regime has shown no interest at all in pursuing peace negotiations and has in fact been stalling and sabotaging it since it assumed power,” the CPP said.

Formal peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) have been suspended since 2001 as a result of the Arroyo government’s refusal to undo the inclusion of the CPP-NPA and CPP founding chairperson Jose Ma. Sison in the US and European Union’s “terrorist list.” The CPP, NPA and Sison have been included in the list as a result of the GRP’s lobbying with the US, the European Union and other countries.

“The Arroyo regime has reneged on past agreements forged in the peace negotiations, including the landmark Hague Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the Comprehensive Agreement on Repect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and compensation of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship.

“Along with trampling on the peace process, the AFP has likewise launched vicious military campaigns under the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), commiting acts in violation of human rights and international rules of war. It has gone berserk in launching extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture, food blockades, bombings and forced evacuations of communities and other fascist attacks with impunity mainly against suspected supporters of the revolutionary movement, legal democratic forces and innocent civilians,” said the CPP.

The AFP has since launched the second and even more vicious version of OBL at the start of 2008.

The CPP reiterated its continuing desire for the resumption of peace negotiations as long as the other side is genuinely interested and the stumbling blocks eliminated. “But the revolutionary forces cannot enter into a long-term ceasefire even before peace talks are well on the way and substantive agreements have been reached,” said the CPP. “Doing so is tantamount to surrender.”