MANILA -- The government called on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to respect the prolonged ceasefire it declared.
“Many Filipinos have risen to the challenge of providing meaningful help to fellow citizens who have been hit by killer storms, a killer earthquake and a three-week armed siege on a southern city. We challenge those who carry arms in the name of the people to become instruments of peace in this Advent season,” the government peace panel said in a statement.
“We need peace to nourish and live with diversity; we need peace to be able to imagine a better future; we need peace to turn our people's hopes into reality. In this season of Christmas, let us seek to end meaningless and destructive violence and commence the healing and rehabilitation of our land and our people,” it added.
Last Wednesday, the CPP said it would declare a Christmas ceasefire that would cover Dec. 24, 25, 26, 31, Jan. 1 and 2. Last year, the rebels’ truce was from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15.
For its part, the government announced a ceasefire or Suspension of Offensive Military Operation (SOMO) from Dec. 21 up to Jan. 15. The government truce is shorter compared to last year, which started Dec. 16 and lasted until Jan. 15.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Monday challenged the CPP to a public debate to find out the "real moron."
This, after the communists tagged as "moronic" an earlier statement of Bautista that they should have declared a ceasefire that "lasts forever."
“We are one with our fellow countrymen and women in the belief that better days are ahead, and we join in the call for peace throughout the country, a peace that will allow everyone—rebels and non-rebels alike—to celebrate the holidays free from fear and uncertainty,” the government peace panel said.