MANILA, Philippines (dpa) – The Communist Party of the Philippines Wednesday declared a truce with the government during the holiday season and for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.
The party said the ceasefire was in solidarity with the Filipino people during the holiday season and because of the 46th anniversary of the founding of the organisation on December 26.
“This ceasefire declaration is also being issued in deference to the upcoming visit of Roman Catholic patriarch Pope Francis which the Filipino people look forward to as an opportunity for religious celebration,” it added.
The rebel ceasefire will be observed in three tranches, the first one will be from December 24-26, the second from December 31 to January 1 and the third, from January 15-19 which is in line with the visit of the pope to Manila and the typhoon-hit Leyte province.
The Philippines’ government Monday announced a month-long ceasefire with the communist rebels from December 19 to January 19 for the Christmas and New Year celebration and for the papal visit.
During the ceasefire period, the New People’s Army, the military arm of the communist movement, is under orders not to carry out offensive operations against soldiers, police and militiamen.a