Philippine leader declares unilateral ceasefire for X-Mas
Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a 10-day unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels to allow Filipinos to celebrate a "stress-free" Christmas season, two weeks after peace talks with the insurgents were formally scrapped.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte had ordered the army and police to suspend offensive operations from December 24 to January 2 "to lessen the apprehension of the public this Christmas season". He said he expected the Maoists and their political leaders to "do a similar gesture of goodwill."
There was no immediate comment from the communist rebel movement, whose top leaders and negotiators have been living in exile in The Netherlands since the late 1980s. Duterte restarted a stalled peace process and freed several communist leaders as a gesture of good faith when he came to office last year but he recently abandoned talks due to escalating rebel attacks.
He has vented his fury on a near-daily basis at what he considers duplicity by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).