Palace bats for permanent truce with communists
MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, December 4, pushed for a permanent truce between government troops and the communist insurgents, just days after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would create a hit squad that would kill the members of communists’ Sparrow Unit.
“There should be permanent truce. There should be no bloodshed as far as the government is concerned. It’s about the oldest bloodshed, it’s been 50 years, my God,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a press conference.
“Let’s end the internecine (strife) among Filipinos,” he added.
On November 27, the President bared his plan to create an armed group to be dubbed as “Duterte Death Squad” that would be similar to the Sparrow unit, the infamous urban hit squad of the communists’ armed wing New People’s Army (NPA).
Communist founder Jose Maria Sison announced Sunday, December 3, that his party would observe a holiday truce despite Duterte’s intent to form a hit squad against
communist rebels. Sison said the traditional holiday ceasefire is meant to allow guerillas and their family to “freely enjoy” the 50th anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26.
However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a television interview on Tuesday that he would not recommend the holiday truce with the communists, as he noted that they were already preparing for the celebration of their 50th founding anniversary.
“What we’re doing now is we’re trying to get a lot of them to surrender and we already are successful in doing that,” the Defense chief said.
“So kung magkaroon tayo ng truce ngayon at magkaroon na naman sila ng chance to reinforce their group, baka mawalan ng gana ‘yung bababa (So if we declare a truce now and they would have a chance to reinforce their group, those who plan to surrender may lose interest),” he added.
Last year, the government forces and the communists observed ceasefires during the holidays despite the moribund peace negotiations.
Nevertheless, Panelo said the possible declaration of holiday truce between the Philippine troops and the communist guerillas would be tackled during Duterte’s meeting with Cabinet officials at the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday afternoon.