MANILA – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said it will “seriously study” President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for a ceasefire as the country faces the threat of the coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19).
In a statement, NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said Duterte should formally make a ceasefire offer, which the NDFP and the Communist Party of the Philippines will study.
“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 said.
“It will be related not only to the common fight against COVID-19 but also to the resumption of the peace negotiations,” Sison added.
Duterte on Monday called for a truce with communist rebels as the country grapples with containing the rapidly spreading new COVID-19.
Duterte asks Reds for ceasefire amid COVID-19 pandemic
Duterte made the appeal during a public address as he placed the entire island of Luzon under an expanded quarantine.
“Ceasefire muna tayo. Mas mabuti pang tumulong muna kayo. I will repay you with a good heart,” he said.
The President formally terminated peace talks with the rebels in March 2019, saying he would no longer entertain any “persuasions” from the communists.
However, in December, Duterte ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to meet with Sison.
The President did not specify what Bello and Sison would talk about but said that “the quest for longing for peace has always been there” and that it was his “last card.”