Manila eyes truce with communists:
The Philippine government said Sunday that it would suspend offensives against communist guerrillas to reciprocate a similar plan by the insurgents and allow troops to focus on quelling a bloody siege by Islamic State group-aligned militants that has dragged on for nearly a month in a southern city.
Philippine negotiator Silvestre Bello III said the government move aims to foster talks for a cease-fire accord and a peace pact with New People’s Army rebels. Troops have been battling communist and Muslim militants simultaneously in the country’s south.
Despite the peace overtures, Philippine troops killed five communist rebels in separate clashes in the south while the guerrillas stormed a police station in a central town and seized a dozen assault rifles and pistols over the weekend, officials said.
Three communist guerrillas were killed in Davao Oriental province and two others died in Compostela Valley in separate clashes with army troops Saturday, military officials said.