It would seem that the ultimatum directed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Communist Party of the Philippine’s New Peoples Army to declare unilateral ceasefire fell on deaf ears.
As the administration deadline lapsed after 5pm of Saturday, the president lifted his order for unilateral ceasefire made on July 25 against the rebels.
PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, on the same day the president spelled his instructions, issued the statement that the PNP will follow the order of the Commander-in-Chief.
Duterte said he was ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to also withdraw the operational guidelines they issued in pursuance to the ceasefire declaration.
He added that all security forces would be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land.
Before the deadline, the President demanded a concrete explanation from the rebels regarding its July 27 encounter with the militia units in Kapalong, Davao Del Norte which killed one and wounded four others.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said that “Opportunity missed! This could have been what the Filipino nation had been waiting for — the silencing of the guns that could have hastened development especially in the countryside.”
Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military was now issuing appropriate orders to all its units nationwide regarding the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire.
for their part, it was expected by Duterte that the National Democratic Front (NDF) would reciprocate the ceasefire declaration before the 5 p.m deadline.
By 6:30 p.m the NDF said it would reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire but had asked for time to finish its investigation on the attack of the militiamen last Wednesday.
Even the negotiating GPH peace panel chair Silvestre Bello confirmed the NDF intention on Saturday evening as the 5:00 p.m deadline lapses.
“Please give us time to finish our investigation of the incident as reported by concerned NPA command,” Bello quoted NDF spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili.
Bello said that in a conversation with Agcaoili, the CPP would reciprocate the President’s ceasefire declaration.
Below is the July 29, 2016 message of President Duterte while in Davao del Norte:
(Various PNA news reports)