Reds declare truce for holidays, Pope’s visit

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 December) — The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has declared a ceasefire for the holidays and during the visit of Pope Francis in January.

In a statement dated sent Friday, the CPP ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to observe a ceasefire during the following periods:  12:01 am of December 24, 2014 to 11:59 pm of December 26, 2014; 12:01 am of December 31, 2014 to 11:59 pm of January 1, 2015; and 12:01 am of January 15, 2015 to 11:59 pm of January 19, 2015.

“During the aforementioned days, all units of the New People’s Army and people’s militia are ordered to desist from carrying out offensive operations against units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the various armed paramilitary groups attached to the Government of the Philippines (GPH),” the declaration said.

The CPP said the declaration is being issued “in solidarity with the Filipino people in their observance of traditional holidays which coincides with the CPP anniversary celebrations 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 and to raise outstanding issues such as military abuses and violations of human rights and children’s rights, Hacienda Luisita and widespread landlessness, poverty and exploitation of peasants and workers, bureaucratic corruption and government neglect of calamity survivors and the poor,” it added.

But the CPP also cautioned the NPA to remain in “active defense mode” and vigilant against attacks by the military and police on rebel territories.

The CPP was founded on Dec. 26, 1968 and the NPA on March 29, 1969.

The National Democratic Front, the umbrella of all underground Left-wing organizations in the country, has been engaged in on-and-off peace talks with the Philippine government since 1986.

The government earlier declared a suspension of military operations against the communist guerrillas—from Dec. 18, 2014 to midnight of Jan. 19, 2015, also the period covering the Yuletide season and the visit of Pope Francis.(MindaNews)