President Duterte declares ceasefire with rebels during holiday season

the Armed Forces of the Philippines / photo file from Manila Bulletin (ctto)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced the suspension of military operations against the communist insurgents starting December 24 to January 2, 2018.

Against the recommendation of the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Chief Executive has decided to declare the temporary ceasefire to lessen the worry of the public this Christmas.

“Christmas holds a special place in the hearts of our countrymen. This unilateral ceasefire would lessen the apprehension of the public this Christmas season,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

He added that the government is also expecting the same gesture from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and New People’s Army (NPA).

“We expect that the CPP-NPA-NDFP would do a similar gesture of goodwill. In the observance of this occasion, we hope that all Filipinos would stand together as one nation and aspire for peace,” Roque said.

On the other hand, Lorenzana welcomed the declaration of the president of a suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the rebels for ten days.
“We will follow the directive of the President,” he said.

“I was actually adamant [on this suspension]. I did not recommend for the cessation of military operations against the CPP-NPA,” he said.

“But if the President declared so, then we are going to implement and abide by the directive of the President,” Lorenzana added.

Earlier, the defense secretary already expressed that he is not in favor to suspend military operations during Christmas season citing the intel that commanders of the NPA have ordered to intensify offensives against the military troops.

Following the AFP, the Philippine National Police also said that it would follow the president’s order. 

“The corresponding memo circular will be issued soonest so that all PNP units, offices and stations will be guided accordingly,” says PNP spokesman Chief Supt.Dionardo Carlos.

For years, a bilateral ceasefire during the holiday season is a tradition between the military men and the rebels in the country.

 source: Manila Times

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