Lorenzana not ruling out Duterte may declare Christmas truce with NPA
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was not discounting the possibility that President Rodrigo Duterte would declare a unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels during the holiday season.
In a text message to Manila Shimbun, Lorenzana said that during the Cabinet meeting last Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who is also the chief negotiator with the communist National Democratic Front, made a pitch about the truce during the holiday season.
"I immediately objected saying ceasefires are usually used by the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) to regroup and refurbish. They would also use it as a vehicle to celebrate with fanfare their 50th anniversary," he said.
Asked on the possibility of Duterte approving his recommendation not to declare a ceasefire during the Christmas holiday, he said, "I don't know. It could be either way knowing the President’s soft heart for the people specially during Christmas."
"He could disapprove my recommendation and I will be OK with it," he said.
The CPP has declared a five-day non-consecutive ceasefire on Christmas Day, its 50th founding anniversary on December 26, and on New Year. Celerina Monte/DMS