By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu – Reporter / @GabrielLaluINQ
INQUIRER.net / 07:47 PM March 17, 2020
MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will intently study President Rodrigo Duterte’s ceasefire offer amid the COVID-19 outbreak, communist leader Jose Maria Sison said on Tuesday.
Sison, however, said that Duterte should make a formal offer to the negotiating panel if he is serious with the ceasefire.
The President made the statements on Monday night, during a briefing where he announced that the entire Luzon is placed under an enhanced community quarantine.
“The offer will be seriously studied by the NDFP and the CPP. It will be related not only to the common fight against COVID-19 but also to the resumption of the peace negotiations,” Sison said.
“But if he is really serious with his offer to have a ceasefire with the NDFP he must make a formal offer through the GRP negotiating panel to the NDFP negotiating panel,” he added.
Sison’s hesitation appears to have stemmed from NDFP’s allegations that they have received reports, claiming that the increased military presence in various parts of Luzon and in Metro Manila was meant to suppress “democratic movement”.
“As Duterte admits, it is true that the redeployment of his military and police to urban areas would leave a vacuum and will allow the New People’s Army to increase its tactical offensives in the countryside,” Sison said.
“But the NDFP has gotten reports that the concentration of Duterte’s military and police forces is meant not to help in the fight against Covid-19 but to suppress the people’s democratic movement in the urban areas,” he stressed. “In fact, Duterte himself gave recently the order to his armed minions to finish off the entire revolutionary movement before 2022.”
Duterte placed Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. The Department of Health said that as of Tuesday, there are 187 patients in the Philippines who test positive for COVID-19, while 12 have died from the disease.
Another six patients were allowed to go on a home quarantine, while four have recovered from the ailment.
The COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, whose surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces. Worldwide, over 168,000 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least 6,506 dead.