World Bulletin / News Desk
A deadline given by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to communist rebels to declare a ceasefire appeared to have lapsed Saturday without word from the group.
Asked by reporters in Manila if the New People's Army -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) -- had declared a ceasefire before the 5 p.m. Saturday (0900GMT) deadline, presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said "there was none at the moment."
"Let's wait [for word] from the president," ABS-CBN reported him as saying.
The deadline passed as Dureza was supposed to be preparing for peace talks scheduled for Aug. 20-27 in Norway between the two sides, aimed at bringing an end to a 40-year insurgency.
On Friday, Duterte gave communist rebels behind an attack on government militiamen until Saturday to answer why they broke the unilateral ceasefire he declared during his first State of the Nation address on July 25.
According to the military, NPA rebels ambushed a Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit in a village in southern Davao del Norte province July 27, killing a government militiaman and injuring four others.
In a statement dated July 29, Aris Francisco, an NPA spokesperson, has owned up to Wednesday’s ambush, but said the militiamen were very much to blame.
The military were “clearly on combat operation and not engaged in ‘civilian’ activities, in direct violation to President Duterte’s ceasefire order,” he said,
Duterte has been making peace overtures to the CPP's political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), since he started to campaign for this year's presidential election.
He has sought to bring the rebels back to the negotiating table in an effort to end a Maoist insurgency -- one of the world’s longest running -- that has claimed 30,000 lives since the late 1960s.
Meanwhile, the founder of the CPP, Jose Maria Sision, has said that they should be given more time to study the ceasefire offer.
“The CPP and NDF should be given enough time to study the implications and consequences of the GRP [government] ceasefire order and what will soon be the CPP unilateral ceasefire order on the NPA, “ said Sison, as reported Friday by ABS CBN's ANC television regional network.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2016, 15:28