The Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday welcomed the respective unilateral ceasefire declarations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and President Rodrigo Duterte in response to a global call to fight the pandemic caused by the deadly CoViD-19.
“This is a welcome development as it will provide an enabling environment for everybody, including combatants in the ongoing armed conflict, to help in the war against the scourge of CoViD-19,” one of the bloc’s members, Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, said.
The CPP’s Tuesday declaration, also affirmed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), was in response to the call Monday, March 23, of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for a united stand in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.To warring parties, I say: Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes,” said UN Secretary General Guterres.
Last March 18, Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP and its armed wing, New People’s Army, effective March 19 to April 15.
“We hope that in this time of pandemic and crisis, this lockdown on armed hostilities will be done with sincerity by the parties, particularly the military and the police elements who continue to launch operations, particularly in the countryside, under the guise of the so-called whole-of-nation program to supposedly end the communist rebellion,” Zarate said.
“These ceasefires, we hope, will provide the necessary enabling environment and pave the way for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the parties,” added the former vice-chairman of the House Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.
Meanwhile, Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers also welcomed the ceasefire declarations, even as she reiterated that these should led to the resolution of the roots of the armed conflict.
“Hopefully, this will not be sabotaged once again by the hawks and militarists in the security sector who are not stopping their fascist attacks despite the health crisis the country is facing now,” Castro, also member of the bloc, said.