Gov’t expects communist rebels to observe holiday truce

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MANILA (26-Dec-2012/PNA) – The Philippine government made an assurance it will observe the ceasefire agreed on with the communist rebels for the celebration of Christmas and New Year and expects the insurgents to do the same, a Palace official said Wednesday.

Both the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front have agreed to a bilateral ceasefire declaration for the holidays.

With a bilateral ceasefire in effect, the government expects the leadership of CPP-NPA-NDF will notify its troops on the ground, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

With regard to the possible eruption of violence as the communists celebrate their 44th anniversary, Lacierda said the Armed forces will remain vigilant in the midst of possible threats from the rebels.

Lacierda noted there is a suspension of offensive military operations reached by both sides in recent talks at The Netherlands that should prevent clashes in the field.

“The AFP is vigilant. There is a SOMO as agreed upon by the joint panel abroad. So we received that press release from, I think, the ambassador of Norway and Netherlands. But I just spoke to Col. (Arnulfo) Burgos, kahit naman may SOMO vigilant sila,” he said.

The communist rebels and Philippine government representatives held informal talks in The Netherlands last Monday, and agreed to keep the peace talks alive. At the same time they recommended a 27-day truce between guerrillas and soldiers.

Both panels have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire from midnight of Dec 20 to midnight of Jan 15, 2013. Last year, the communist rebels and soldiers went into a truce from Dec 16, 2011 to Jan 2.

The communist and government panels met Dec 17 in The Hague and agreed to continue discussing important items such as the common declaration of national unity and just peace, democracy and human rights, agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization. (PNA)


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