PNP orders suspension of offensives against NPA rebels

MANILA, Philippines – police units nationwide have been directed to suspend its offensives against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels begining Thursday midnight, the start of 18-day long holiday truce between government forces and rebel.

The order to suspend offensives against NPA rebels was contained in a memorandum issued by Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo Tuesday night to all police units and commands.

The PNP chief in the memorandum, ordered all police units to maintain a high level of readiness to respond to hostile actions by local threat groups during the duration of ceasefire that ends on midnight of January 3.

The PNP chief also clarified that the order covers only suspension of offensives, but normal law enforcement operations will still continue.

“Law enforcement operations shall be implemented without prejudice to actions aimed at protecting the people and the communities as troops and installation against insurgents or terrorist attacks that may take place during the period,” Bacalzo said in the memorandum.

Early this month, Malacanang has declared a ceasefire with the NPA rebels that will begin on midnight of December 16 and will end on midnight of January 3.

The 18-day long ceasefire is the longest ceasefire that the government and the communist rebels have agreed since the collapse of the peace-talks in 2005.

In the past, communist rebels have also opted not to reciprocate the government’s ceasefire declaration. The last time that NPA rebels has declared a ceasefire was in 2007.

The government and the NDFP are expected to begin exploratory talks next month for the resumption of the peace-negotiation this coming February. Anthony Vargas

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