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CHRISTMAS TRUCE

Reds declare 8-day ceasefire

REBEL THREAT Members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) train in their Sierra Madre stronghold. President Duterte has said he would classify theNPA as a terrorist group. —INQUIRER PHOTO

Members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) train in their Sierra Madre stronghold. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

LUCENA CITY – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has declared an eight-day unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas holiday.
Ka Oris, spokesman of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), made the announcement via a statement posted on the communist group’s website on Friday.

“This unilateral declaration of ceasefire shall be in effect from 6:00 p.m. of December 23 to 6:00 p.m. of December 26; and 6:00 p.m. of December 30 to 6:00 p.m. of January 2, 2018,” Ka Oris said.

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The truce order was issued upon the order of the CPP Central Committee “in observance of the Filipino people’s traditional holidays and the Party’s 49th anniversary” on December 26.

Ka Oris said that during the ceasefire period, “all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military campaigns and operations against” the government forces and its paramilitaries.

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But he stressed that all communist guerrillas and their allies shall remain on active defensive mode in order to defend the people and revolutionary forces.

“All NPA units shall maintain a high degree of alertness and preparation against any hostile actions or movements by enemy armed forces, similar to what transpired during the 6-month unilateral ceasefires last year wherein the AFP occupied and forward deployed troops in at least 500 barrios nationwide, committing numerous human rights violations against civilians and their communities,” Ka Oris said.

Ka Oris noted that despite the government ceasefire, the CPP and NPA is only too aware of the AFP’s “treachery, attacks and deception”.

“As such, all leading organs and branches of the CPP, commands and units of the NPA and people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations shall closely monitor any hostile actions, provocations or movements being carried out by the enemy armed forces,” he said.

The NPA leader also said that soldiers and policemen “who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest or punitive actions”.

“They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people’s democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends,” Ka Oris said.

On Thursday, Malacañang decided to shorten the period covered by the government’s unilateral holiday ceasefire with the communist rebels.

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the first of the two-part ceasefire would hold from 6:00 p.m. of December 23 until 11:59 p.m. of December 26; and from 6:00 p.m. of December 30 until 11:59 p.m. of January 2.

This was different from Duterte’s pronouncement on Wednesday ordering the suspension of combat operations against the NPA rebels from December 24 to January 2 without interruption.                        /kga

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TAGS: Ceasefire, Christmas, CPP, Holiday, Ka Oris, NPA
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