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

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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