Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the celebration of the 82nd anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, the Philippines, Dec. 20, 2017. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with the leftist rebels from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 next year in the observance of the holiday season, the presidential spokesman said on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with the leftist rebels from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 next year in the observance of the holiday season, the presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
"This unilateral ceasefire would lessen the apprehension of the public this Christmas season. We expect that the CPP-NPA-NDF would do a similar gesture of goodwill," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its military wing New People's Army (NPA), and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Roque said Christmas "holds a special place in the hearts of our countrymen."
"In the observance of this occasion, we hope that all Filipinos would stand together as one nation and aspire for peace in our beloved Philippines," Roque said.
The Duterte administration announced in November that it has decided to cancel peace talks with leftist rebels in the country.
Since 1986, the Philippine government has been trying to reach a peace deal with the leftist rebels but failed to make any headway.
The leftist rebellion began in 1969. At present, the military estimates the number of the armed rebels at around 4,000.