CPP declares Christmas truce

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DAVAO CITY – The Communist Party of the Philippine­s directed all the fighting forces of the New People’s Army to halt tactical operations against government forces.

In a ceasefire order released on Sunday, the CPP said that the directive is a response to the recommenda­tion of the National Democratic Front and government for a unilateral and reciprocal holiday ceasefire.

The ceasefire will take effect midnight of December 23 and will end 11:59 p.m. of January 7, 2020.

The CPP said that the ceasefire order for the NPA will be enforced after the government issues its reciprocal ceasefire order for state security forces.

“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 (GRP),” the CPP said.

The communist movement affirmed that the declaratio­n of unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires aims to create an environmen­t that would help jumpstart the stalled peace negotiatio­ns.

“The purpose of the reciprocal and unilateral ceasefires is to generate a positive atmosphere conducive to the holding of informal talks preparator­y to the formal meeting to resume the peace negotiatio­ns. These shall be measures of goodwill and confidence-building during the traditiona­l celebratio­ns of Christmas and New Year holidays,” the CPP said.

In the duration of the ceasefire, guerrilla fighters and militias of the NPA are prevented from initiating operations against the military and police.

“During the ceasefire period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippine­s (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilita­ry and armed groups attached to the GRP,” the CPP ordered.

The NPA will take “defensive” positionin­g but the CPP reminded its fighting units to keep a high level of vigilance for untoward hostilitie­s.

“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 said.

“All 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. Such informatio­n should be reported to the concerned commands of the New People’s Army and leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippine­s,” the CPP added.

The Palace is expected to reciprocat­e the ceasefire declaratio­n on Sunday evening.

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