MANILA – Malacañang on Friday took a jab at Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison for claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels was “premature, insincere, and false.”
In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said instead of welcoming the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the communist movement, Sison continues to question Duterte’s actions.
“Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson Jose Ma. Sison is again engaged in ranting nonsense that only highlights his perverted vision of reality as well as his insensitivity to the present grave peril that the Filipino people he professed to fight for face,” Panelo said.
Duterte on Wednesday ordered the suspension of military operations from March 19 to April 15 to pave the way for the government’s response to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The government sought to stop the transmission of Covid-19, which has infected 217 people, as of Thursday.
Amid the government’s fight against Covid-19, Duterte directed the military and the police to stop offensives against the CPP and its armed and political wings, the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Sison, however, said there is no clear basis yet to reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire declared by Duterte.
Panelo said Sison should grab the “golden opportunity” to show his patriotism by extending his hands for peace, for the sake of the Filipino people.
“At a time when all Filipinos, regardless of class, religion, or ideology, are united to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the country, Mr. Sison, in these times of national health emergency and calamity, would rather have a hostile environment where Filipinos argue with, if not kill, each other,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the communist movement is showing its “true colors” over its outright rejection of the government’s unilateral ceasefire.
“Their true colors are exposed here. They claim to be compassionate towards the people but even in the time of the coronavirus, where everyone is making sacrifices, they still want to continue the battle against our police officers and soldier.” DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in Filipino during a briefing on Covid-19 aired over state-run PTV.
Malaya said the communist movement’s response to the measure is saddening.
“Their actions reflect that they do not care or they do not love the country and our people especially in times of crisis and calamity,” he added.
Malaya said since the national and local governments including the police and military are swamped with challenges due to the Covid-19 crisis, the least that the communists should have done is to not hamper government efforts to serve the people by reciprocating the government’s declaration of the ceasefire.
“How do we expect the police and military to do their jobs properly to man the checkpoints, deliver relief goods to indigent families, maintain peace and order, and so on and so forth if they are always looking over their shoulder for that NPA ambush or attack on construction sites to extort revolutionary taxes?” he said.
He said the government’s declaration of ceasefire will give the Philippine National Police the opportunity to fully serve the people since Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has also declared a suspension of offensive police operations.
“It was never about the people. It was always about them and how they will advance their so-called revolution to bring about a communist state in our country. We are fools for expecting the communists to put the interests of the country before their own narrow ideological ambitions. That’s why there’s no use negotiating with terrorists,” he added.
In the event of a communist attack, Malaya said government forces are prepared and will have no resort but to protect themselves.
The CPP-NPA-NDF has been branded as a terror organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)