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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered its guerilla forces to suspend for two days their offensive against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) all over the country.
In emails sent by CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena to news organizations nationwide on Saturday, December 23, he said the suspension of guerilla actions would take place from 12:01 midnight of December 25 to 11:59 pm of December 26.
Valbuena said the two-day ceasefire would mark the party’s 55th anniversary on Tuesday, December 26.
“The ceasefire declaration is also in solidarity with the people’s traditional holiday celebration,” the CPP said.
This is the first time the CPP declared a unilateral suspension of hostilities after its peace talks with the Philippine government broke down during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.
Major General Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) in Northern Mindanao, said they have yet to receive any instructions from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the AFP to reciprocate the ceasefire offered by the communists.
“As for us, our offensive against remnants of the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue and our patrols will scour the mountains in search of them,” Cuerpo said.
Cuerpo added that soldiers under the Philippine Army’s 4ID are deployed to ensure that Northern Mindanao residents would be able to safely celebrate Christmas.
He said the NPA is already “a spent force in two weakened guerrilla fronts in Surigao provinces… [with] about 300 armed members at present.”
In November, the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) – the CPP’s political wing – agreed “to a principled and peaceful resolution” to their decades-old conflict. – Rappler.com