Manila, Feb. 14 – A seven-day ceasefire between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) is set to start tomorrow as formal peace talks resumes in Oslo, Norway on February 15-21.
According to a press statement released by the government peace panel today, both parties have declared unilateral ceasefires or cessation of hostilities for the entire duration of the formal talks.
The one-week truce was previously agreed upon during the informal meeting held on January 14-18.
“In this regard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall observe a suspension of offensive military and police operations (SOMO/SOPO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) for a total of seven days, from 12:01 a.m. on 15 February to 23:59 p.m. (11:59) on 21 February 2011,” the panel statement said.
It also stated that the SOMO will cover only deliberate offensive military actions against the NPA, not "defensive military actions aimed at securing and protecting the community, and individual and units of the AFP against violent attack."
"Likewise, the SOPO shall not cover normal law enforcement operations, and shall be without prejudice to actions aimed at protecting the people and communities as well as PNP troops and installations against NPA attacks during the SOMO/SOPO period," the statement added.
On Feb. 12, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) released their ceasefire declaration to all commands and units of the NPA. The order will be effective from 12:01 a.m. of Feb. 15 to 11:59 p.m. of Feb. 21.
"In conformity with the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a confidence and goodwill measure to mark the resumption of the formal talks after six years, all the commands and units of the NPA shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and paramilitary forces of the GPH," the CPP announced in their statement.
Further, statement said that while the mutual ceasefire is in effect, the NPA will be in a defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels.
"Active self-defense shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy," it added.
The statement also said that CPP hopes that the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the NDF will "improve the atmosphere for peace negotiations particularly upon the resumption of formal talks" and "inspire the release of political prisoners, the full implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the end of human rights violations in consonance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law." #