NPA to observe ceasefire for the holidays

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The rebels' ceasefire takes effect from 6 p.m. on December 23 to 6 p.m. on December 26, and the same hours on December 30 to January 2, 2018.

The Palace spokesperson, meanwhile, said President Rodrigo Duterte decided that the government's ceasefire would be from Dec. 23, 6.pm. until Dec. 26, 11:59 p.m. and from Dec. 30, 6 p.m.to January 2, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), the group negotiating talks with the government on behalf of the CPP and NPA, recommended the ceasefire.

"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", Madlos said.

Malacañang on Friday welcomed this development, as it was expecting the communists to honor their ceasefire declaration.

Last month, Duterte declared there would be no ceasefire with the NPA this Christmas season.

An official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday said the CPP-NPA should take advantage of Duterte's declaration of ceasefire and give the peace talks another chance.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the ceasefire is "our best Christmas gift", adding that everybody should "always work for peace".

Roque said in a statement that the December 24-Jan.

When reporters sought his reaction, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana appeared unaware of the president's declaration but said the defense department and the military would abide by the decision, despite their recommendation against a holiday cease-fire.

"They could also celebrate Christmas with their families".

The communist movement declared a ceasefire even as its founder believes the government's truce could be a trick.

In a statement before the 49th founding anniversary of the CPP on December 26, the NPA also ordered the establishment of more informal militias to help regular guerrilla units.

"Malamang na pakunwari ang SOMO (The suspension of military operations or SOMO is most likely a pretense)", said CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

Before the NPA declared the truce, the CPP issued a statement urging rebels to intensify tactical offensives against government forces.

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