COTABATO CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announced Friday the end of the government ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People’s Army, effective midnight of Friday (Feb. 3), reiterating that the rebels are asking too much for the past several months his administration has been talking peace with them.
The President’s declaration came after the NPA announced on Feb. 1 its own lifting of a unilateral ceasefire with the government after the Duterte administration allegedly failed to release all political prisoners and the pullout of government troops in communities in the countryside.
“I have walked the extra mile. Wala akong hangarin kundi kapayapaan pero kung ayaw talaga ninyo, wala akong magawa na dyan,” the President told the crowd as he led the switch-on ceremony of the first-ever PHP 5 million prototype solar powered irrigation system in remote Barangay New Janiuay in M’lang, North Cotabato.
The solar irrigation project would benefit some 500 poor Christian and Muslim farmers in Janiuay village in M’lang and the near environs.
Apart from his declaration of lifting the ceasefire with the communist rebels, the President made clear that he would never talk peace with terrorists, in apparent referral to the Maute terror group operating in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
“However, with Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation front, I am ready to talk federalism,” he said.
“Believe me, there would be no peace in Mindanao kung di nyo ibigay ang federalism. You will break the country,” the President said referring to “the people in Manila”, refusing to amend the 1986 Constitution.
The President then addressed soldiers during his speech to take their positions and stay alert against NPA attacks.
“Maglaban na lang tayo for the next 50 years. Pag dinis-appoint mo ang military at pulis, baka madisgrasya ako,” he stressed.
The President said the series of recent NPA attacks has cost lives of military and police troopers.
“I have lost many soldiers during the last 48 hours,” he said.
He then called on state forces, “ Go back to your camps, clean your rifles and get ready for battle.” Noel Punzalan/PNA-northboundasia.com