The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has officially declared its truce for a peaceful celebration of Christmas.
NPA spokesperson Ka Oris said in a statement that the communist rebels’ unilateral declaration of ceasefire will take effect from 6 p.m. of December 23 and December 30, and will end at 6 p.m. of December 26 and January 2, 2018.
“During this period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military campaigns and operations against the uniformed armed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its paramilitaries, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the CPP announcement read.
“Personnel of the AFP and PNP 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,” it added.
The NPA, however, said its elements would stay alert for any hostilities.
“Despite the GRP’s own unilateral ceasefire declaration, the CPP and NPA is only too aware of the AFP’s treachery, attacks and deception,” Ka Oris said.
“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 added.
Sought for comments on the communists’ truce declaration, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, “We wish the whole nation a peaceful Christmas and New Year.”
The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, praised the decision of the communist rebels to declare ceasefire.
“The PNP welcomes the move of the CPP/NPA to issue a ceasefire to match the ceasefire offered by the Duterte administration,” PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos was quotes as saying in a GMA report.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a holiday ceasefire with the Reds in defiance to previous statements and recommendations by some of his cabinet members.
“The President announced last night a suspension of military operations (SOMO) from December 24, 2017 to January 2, 2018,” Roque said in a statement.
The government ceasefires are a few hours longer than the rebels’ as it will begin at 6 p.m. but will end at 11:59 p.m.