NPA declares own unilateral ceasefire during Christmas and New Year

  • (FILES) This file photo taken on July 30, 2017 shows guerrillas from the New People’s Army (NPA) in formation in the Sierra Madre mountain range, located east of Manila. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to suspend operations against communist rebels over Christmas, the government said on December 20, 2017, despite ending peace talks and branding the insurgents “terrorists”. / AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS

The Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) has declared an eight-day unilateral ceasefire following President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a truce during the Christmas and New Year holidays, The Manila Times Online reported on Friday (Dec 22).

In a statement posted on the group’s website on Friday, NPA spokesman Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos said all NPA units would observe a ceasefire from 6 pm on Dec 23 to 6 pm Dec 26 and from 6 pm on Dec 30 to 6 pm Jan 2.

He said the ceasefire declared was ordered by the CPP central committee in observation of the Filipino people’s traditional holidays and the party’s 49th anniversary on Dec 26.

However, he said the NPA units would be on defensive mode in order to defend the people and revolutionary forces.

Madlos said that even though the government had announced its unilateral ceasefire, the CPP and NPA were only too aware of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ “treachery, attacks and deception.”

He also said that soldiers and policemen who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in the armed units may be allowed to enter the communists’ territory to visit their relatives and friends.

Commenting on the NPA’s truce declaration, government spokesman Harry Roque said the government expected the communist group “would honor their word and comply with the unilateral ceasefire, so that our people could truly experience a peaceful Christmas celebrations.”

Meanwhile Philippine Armed Forces chief Gen Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he hoped the NPA would be sincere with its ceasefire in response to Duterte’s truce declaration.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation to declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA “terrorist organizations.”