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Duterte declares Christmas truce with Reds
By Manolo B. Jara December 21, 2017
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MANILA: President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte declared a unilateral 10-day Christmas and New Year ceasefire, from Dec.24 to Jan.2, 2018, with communist insurgents, two days after he condemned them for their lack of ideology “except to destroy and kill.”

But Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, pointed out that Duterte announced the ceasefire, not for the benefit of the insurgents, but to allay public fear during the holiday season as he expressed hope the rebels would reciprocate and also declare similar truce.

“The unilateral ceasefire,” Roque explained, “would lessen the apprehension of the public this Christmas season. We expect the CPP-NPA-NDFP would do a similar gesture of goodwill.”

Roque disclosed Duterte announced his decision to declare the unilateral ceasefire during a pre-Christmas party he had hosted for his Cabinet members and other top government officials at Malacanang Palace on Tuesday night.

CPP stands for the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA, its armed wing or the New People’s Army that have been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for close to 50 years, considered the longest in the region.

On the other hand, the NDFP is the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the Maoists’ political arm that has been representing them in the peace talks with the government hoisted by Norway but which Duterte has formally cancelled later.

Defense, military and police officials who earlier said they would not recommend the declaration of the traditional ceasefire, however, said on Wednesday they would abide by Duterte’s order.

“I was actually adamant. I did not recommend the cessation of military operation against the CPP-NPA-NDFP. But if the president declared so, then we have to implement and abide by the directive of the president,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a media briefing.

Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, the spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), also said they would follow Duterte’s order and cancel their plan for an intensified operation against the Maoists during the holiday season in the absence of a truce.

After announcing the cancellation of the peace talks, Duterte followed this up on Nov.23, disclosing he had signed a proclamation declaration the CPP-NPA as “terrorist organisations.”

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