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President Duterte yesterday declared a Christmas ceasefire from December 23 to 27 and December 31 to January 3, 2017.
He called on members of the New People’s Army to come down from the mountains and be with their families during the holidays.
“As agreed with some of the local religious leaders, I will honestly ask you, sincerely, for a ceasefire beginning December 23 hanggang 27, then sa New Year, sa 31st hanggang January 3,” Duterte said in a speech at the 81st anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“Sa mga NPA, for the Communist Party of the Philippines, although you did not declare any cessation of hostilities somewhere. I would like to invite everybody, leave your arms where they are ngayon, and you can come down sa siyudad, wherever you live, you visit your family,” he added.
“I would like you to come down and be with your family on Christmas Day.”
Duterte assured the rebels that no arrests will be made against them, saying that they can even shake hands with government forces should their paths meet.
“I guarantee you na walang aresto, walang opresyon, wala sa lahat. At kung magsalubong kayo ng sundalo ng Pilipinas, sundalo ko, mag-kamay lang kayo, o pag ayaw mo, huwag mo na lang tingnan.”
He also called on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front to spend time with their families this Christmas and New Year even if they are Christian festivities, saying it is time for cessation of hostilities.
“Magbaba kayo, spend time, it’s not your festivity but it’s ours Christians and we would like you to share the moment with us,” he said. (Elena L. Aben)