Philippines declares unilateral Christmas truce with Maoists

MANILA Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:01pm IST

Related Topics

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines declared on Saturday an 18-day unilateral Christmas truce with Maoist guerrillas, in part to let forces focus on relief efforts on a southern island devastated by a typhoon, an army spokesman said.

The government has been fighting communist rebels for 40 years. About 40,000 people have been killed and investors have been scared away from poor but resource-rich rural regions.

A December 4 typhoon killed 955 people and nearly 850 are missing, most in the provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, on Mindano island, where communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels are active.

Both the army and rebels are involved in relief operations in the area and they declared informal truces on December 10.

"Many of our men and women are working round the clock conducting search, rescue and relief operations in disaster-stricken areas," said military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos.

The army was suspending offensive operations nationwide against the rebels from December 16 to January 2, he said. Soldiers would be on alert and would defend themselves, he said.

The truce would also allow soldiers and their families to celebrate Christmas peacefully, Burgos said.

Last year, the government and communist rebels agreed on a 19-day holiday truce, the longest in 10 years, ahead of the resumption of peace talks aimed at ending one of the world's longest-running Maoist insurgencies.

But talks have been stalled over a rebel demand for the release of prisoners and the government's demand that the rebels stop extorting money from mines, plantations and construction companies.

Norway has been brokering the on-off negotiations.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

TALIBAN ATTACKS

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong protests approach potential National Day flashpoint.  Full Article 

Seeking Reassurance

Seeking Reassurance

Amid differences, Israel's Netanyahu to seek reassurances from Obama on Iran.  Full Article 

Ebola in U.S.

Ebola in U.S.

Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

Australian aircraft to support U.S.-led air strikes in Iraq - PM.  Full Article 

Frustrated PM

Frustrated PM

Turkey, frustrated with West, clings to fading vision for the Middle East.  Full Article 

Indonesia Politics

Indonesia Politics

President manages hopes as hostile parliament convenes  Full Article 

Security Breach

Security Breach

U.S. lawmakers rebuke Secret Service over White House breach  Full Article 

Palestinian Occupation

Palestinian Occupation

Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian homes in Old City's shadow  Full Article 

Ebola Chronology

Ebola Chronology

Worst Ebola outbreak on record tests global response  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage