From the Philippine Star (Dec 16): Government starts holiday truce with NPA rebels
The Philippine government forces began enforcing today an 18-day truce with the rebel group New People's Army (NPA) for the celebration of the Christmas season, the military announced. This year's Suspension of Offensive Military Operations covered the same dates of last year's truce, which will allow the rebels and soldiers to be with their families to celebrate Christmas and New Year, said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos. "The only prohibition is the conduct of deliberate offensive such as combat operations to degrade the armed capability or seize NPA encampments through deliberate offensive operations," he said. However, the government forces will continue their patrol to protect communities and vital installations during the truce, Burgos said.
The rebel group traditionally declares truce with the government. However, it has yet to announce any date for this year. The government has a standing truce with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and negotiation is going on for a peace accord between them. The government does not declare truce with terrorist organizations like the Abu Sayyaf Group. The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside for more than four decades. The military estimated the NPA strength at more than 4,000 men scattered in more than 60 guerrilla fronts throughout the country.