Government expects communist rebels to observe holiday truce
The Philippine government made an assurance that it will observe the ceasefire agreed with the communist rebels for the celebration of Christmas and New Year and it expects the insurgents to do the same, a Palace official said on Wednesday.
Both the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) have agreed to a bilateral ceasefire declaration for the holidays.
With a bilateral ceasefire in effect, the government expects that the leadership of CPP-NPA-NDF will notify its troops on the ground, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
With regards to the possible eruption of violence as the communists celebrate their 44th anniversary, Lacierda said the Armed forces will remain vigilant in the midst of possible threats from the rebels.
Lacierda noted that there is a suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) reached by both sides in recent talks at The Netherlands that should prevent clashes in the field.
“The AFP is vigilant. There is a SOMO as agreed upon by the joint panel abroad. So we received that press release from, I think, the ambassador of Norway and Netherlands. But I just spoke to Colonel (Arnulfo) Burgos, kahit naman may SOMO vigilant sila,” he said.
The communist rebels and Philippine government representatives held informal talks in The Netherlands last Monday, and agreed to keep the peace talks alive. At the same time they recommended a 27-day truce between guerrillas and soldiers.
Both panels have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire from midnight of December 20 to midnight of January 15, 2013. Last year, the communist rebels and soldiers went into a truce from December 16, 2011 to January 2.
The communist and government panels met on December 17 in The Hague and agreed to continue discussing important items such as the common declaration of national unity and just peace, democracy and human rights, agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization. PND (as)
Malacanang says President Aquino closely monitoring situtation in the Visayas hit by typhoon Quinta
President Benigno S. Aquino III is closely monitoring the situation in the Visayas which was hit by typhoon Quinta during the Christmas holidays, a Palace official said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang that the Chief Executive, who left on Tuesday night for a brief vacation, remains in contact with officials of concerned government agencies regarding the typhoon to ensure the safety of the people.
"He is updated doon sa bagyo sa Visayas and on all other important matters of state, he is informed. But, again, this is an opportunity for the President to take a well-deserved rest. But it does not mean that the affairs of (the) state are not moving forward. He continuously receives information on the matters of the state," Lacierda said.
President Aquino wants to ensure that the coordination among concerned government agencies is taking place so that there is an effective response to the situation in the country, Lacierda noted.
"He is taking his break. Nonetheless, we were told that if there’s anything important, he is always a text away. And certainly communications are ongoing with him except that talagang we wanted to give the President more time to rest," Lacieda said. PND (js)