MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared on Saturday an indefinite ceasefire with communist New People’s Army (NPAs) to pave the way for resumption of peace talks with the rebels next week, said Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Jesus Dureza on Saturday.
The peace talks are scheduled for Aug. 22 in Oslo, Norway.
Dureza left Manila for Oslo at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
In a press conference held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before his flight, he announced that President Duterte has restored the effects of unilateral ceasefire effective Aug. 21.
“The ceasefire will last for as long as necessary to bring peace in the country, and also to provide an enabling environment for the success of Oslo talks on August 22,” Dureza said.
Last Friday, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed-wing, the NPA declared a seven-day unilateral ceasefire hours after the release of its high-ranking leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, who were named consultants to peace talks scheduled Aug. 22 to 26 in Oslo, Norway.
The rebel ceasefire will take effect 12:01 a.m. of Aug. 21 until 11:59 p.m. of Aug. 27.
President Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25.
However, Dureza cited that six days after it was first issued, Duterte had lifted it because of failure of the CPP/NPA/National Democratic Front (NDF) to reciprocate it with their own.
The OPAPP chief said the restoration of ceasefire declaration was timely, “as we are all at the onset of the formal resumption of peace talks that was previously installed four years ago.”
He added that the ceasefire’s operational guidelines for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other security units of the government were also restored.
“Our citizens deserve no less. Filipinos wish to live peaceful lives,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Dureze told the Philippines News Agency he’s very positive about the Oslo talks, and did not see any barrier to the talks’ success.