Philippine president withdraws cease-fire with rebels

MANILA, July 30 (UPI) — Newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lifted his cease-fire against communist rebels after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Duterte announced the end of the cease-fire on Saturday after the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army failed to declare their own cease-fire by Duterte’s deadline of 5 p.m. local time on Saturday.

“Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering the immediate lifting of the unilateral cease-fire that I ordered last July 25 against the communist rebels,” Duterte said in a statement.

Duterte declared the cease-fire during his first national address on July 25 in hopes of ending “centuries of mistrust and warfare” between the government and communist rebels.

He then issued an ultimatum, threatening to lift the unilateral cease-fire, following an attack by rebels in Davao del Norte.

“I have dealt with you in good faith. Tell me if you are not ready to deal in the same manner. I am asking you: are you ready to declare a ceasefire or not? It’s 5 p.m.,” he said. “I will wait for the declaration at 5 p.m. [Saturday]. I better get a word from you or I will lift the [ceasefire] order.”

During his declaration on Saturday, Duterte also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to withdraw the operational guidelines which were issued in compliance with the cease-fire.

“I am ordering all security forces to 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,” he said.

According to CNN Philippines, PNP Chief Ronal Dela Rosa said police would follow Duterte’s instructions.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla condemned the communist rebel’s New People’s Army for rejecting a chance at peace.

“The NPA have missed a golden opportunity to manifest their commitment to the attainment of our citizen’s much sought peace throughout the land,” he said.

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