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President Aquino approves holiday truce with communist rebels

MALACANANG, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved the recommendation of the Department of National Defense for the unilateral declaration of the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The SOMO will commence at 12:01 a.m. of December 23, 2015 and would end at 11:59 p.m. of January 3, 2016, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Friday.
Last December 15, the defense department recommended that President Aquino approve a SOMO against communist insurgents.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has already declared a 12-day holiday ceasefire in support of calls to resume the stalled peace talks with the government.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said the truce would take effect from December 23, 2015 to January 3, 2016. The NDFP negotiates with the government on behalf of the CPP and its political arm, the NPA.
The ceasefire order was issued in solidarity with the Filipino people’s traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays, the NDFP said.
The ceasefire will also allow its forces to carry out mass assemblies and public demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the CPP and celebrate revolutionary victories of the past year, it said, adding that the move is also in support of efforts of peace advocates to foster the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.