MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral Christmas truce with Communist rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) between Dec. 24, 2017 and Jan. 2, 2018, the presidential office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Duterte hoped the rebels will return the gesture, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in the statement.
The Christmas truce has been a long-standing tradition in the decades-long armed conflict between the government and the NPA, the armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines.
The Maoist group was founded in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare.
As per tradition, Duterte had also restarted peace talks to end the conflict with the rebels, after taking office in June 2016.
In August 2016, the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which represents the Communist rebels, had agreed in Oslo to continue with an ongoing unilateral ceasefire and granting amnesty to political prisoners.
The promising start, however, was short lived and following the collapse of peace talks on Dec. 5, Duterte had declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA as terrorist organizations.