Drammen – The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has declared a nationwide unilateral ceasefire that takes effect from early today, 26 March until April 15 in response to the UN Global call for ceasefire to facilitate global response to Covid-19.
In a statement, the party committee said that “the purpose of this unilateral ceasefire is to ensure and facilitate necessary, unhampered and immediate medical, health and economic assistance, support and movement of the people” and as a “gesture towards national unity.”
The party also hopes that the gesture will contribute to a positive atmosphere for future talks and the resumption of the formal peace talks.
The declaration was welcomed by the office of the United Nations Secretary-General in a statement that lauded the move as an “example across the world to silence the guns and come together to face the global Covid-19 threat” and “encouraged the parties “to reach a lasting political solution and end this longstanding confict.”
The statement was signed by Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
The UN Secretary-General earlier appealed for a global ceasefire last March 23 in response to to the global pandemic. In his appeal, he said that the time has come to “put conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel head, Fidel Agcaoili wrote in an online message to Pinoy Portal Europe that they, in the NDFP, “deeply appreciate the recognition extended by the UN Secretary General for the initiative of the revolutionary movement and the CPP to respond to his call for a global ceasefire in humanity’s common fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Peace advocate group, The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform also “appreciates the commitment of both parties to halt hostilities, even for just a brief period, in order to address the COVID 19 pandemic” and that it hopes that the ceasefire will be “faithfully observed by each party, especially on the ground and let peace serve the healing.”
The group also called on the government, in its statement released today, to release sick and elderly prisoners most vulnerable to Covid-19 such as Rey Claro Casambre of the Philippine Peace Center and other NDFP peace consultants.
Reacting earlier to CPP’s ceasefire declaration, Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that “the Filipino people deserve and need a safe environment where there is unimpeded movement of health workers, medical supplies, food and other needs and services, in view of the current state of calamity and public health emergency.”
He also said that government “welcomes the cooperation of all, including those in the Left, to realize our goal of absolute peace during these times.”