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CPP orders Christmas ceasefire, waits for reciprocal order from government
In this file photo, members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-Metro Manila march along Recto Avenue in Manila.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

CPP orders Christmas ceasefire, waits for reciprocal order from government

(Philstar.com) - December 22, 2019 - 6:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines has announced a ceasefire from December 23, 2019 to Janaury 7, 2020 although it will only take effect if the government issues a reciprocal ceasefire order.

The order acknowledges the recommendation for a ceasefire made by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which represents communist rebels in talks with the government peace panel and covers "all commands and units of the New People's Army and the people's militias" across the country.

The CPP's information bureau has yet to issue a statement announcing the ceasefire and has yet to respond to a request for comment.

"This ceasefire order shall take effect upon issuance of the corresponding and reciprocal ceasefire orders in the form of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) to be issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines," the CPP Central Committee said.

READ: Duterte to decide on proposed Christmas ceasefire on Monday — Palace

The Philippine National Police earlier Sunday said it would follow whatever decision President Rodrigo Duterte will make on the ceasefire, which the government panel led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will also recommend to the president.

Last week, the Defense department and the military announced that they would not recommend a ceasefire, saying communists had used previous suspensions of offensives to celebrate their anniversary and to launch attacks.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to make a decision by Monday.

The CPP ceasefire order says the ceasefire is meant "to generate a positive atmosphere conducive to the holding of informal talks preparatory to the formal meeting to resume the peace negotiations," a phrase also contained in the joint statement signed by the government and NDFP panels in the Netherlands on December 21.

READ: Government, NDFP panels agree to recommend Christmas ceasefire

"All units of the NPA and the people’s militias shall be on defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels.They shall nonetheless maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against any hostile actions or movements contrary to the ceasefire order. Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by hostile forces," the CPP's Central Committee said.

The central command also said "branches and committees of the CPP, units of the NPA and people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations should closely monitor any hostile actions being carried out by the armed units and personnel of the GRP." — Jonathan de Santos

CEASEFIRE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES-NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY-NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT CPP-NPA-NDF
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