The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Saturday, Dec. 23, that it will continue its efforts to eliminate the remaining forces of communist groups in the country, despite a two-day unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Col. Xerxes Trinidad, chief of AFP public affairs office, stated that troops had been ordered to remain vigilant for surprise attacks despite the CPP’s announcement of a ceasefire. The CPP declared a suspension of tactical offensives against the military and police from 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 25 to 11:59 p.m. of Dec. 26.
Trinidad emphasized that the AFP will comply with the task given to them, and their operations will continue unabated to keep communities safe and end the communist armed conflict once and for all. The military views the CPP’s declaration of a ceasefire as “an empty statement,” noting that the communist groups do not have the leadership and support of the masses, and their ammunition and members are dwindling.
The CPP stated that the decision to declare a ceasefire was in time for its upcoming 55th founding anniversary on Dec. 26. However, Trinidad urged the CPP and NPA to abandon the armed struggle, lay down their weapons, and return to the folds of the law in order to be with their families.
Discussions about a joint declaration of a truce between the national government and the CPP had been ongoing, after the political party, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the Philippine government (GRP) agreed to a “principled and peaceful resolution” of the armed conflict last month.
The GRP and NDFP signed the Oslo Joint Communique on Nov. 23 in Norway, aiming to resolve the roots of the 55-year-long communist rebellion in the country. Additionally, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. granted amnesty to rebels and insurgents, including members of the CPP-NPA-NDFP, to encourage them to return to the folds of the law.