World Bulletin / News Desk
The Philippines president declared a Christmas and New Year cease-fire with communist and Moro rebel groups Wednesday, but underlined that it is business as usual for criminals and terrorists.
Speaking after a consultation with religious leaders and officials involved in a peace process with both leftist and Moro groups, Rodrigo Duterte said the declaration would allow almost everyone to go home to their families.
"Now as agreed with some local and religious leaders, I will honestly and sincerely ask you for a cease-fire beginning December 23 to 27 and then in New Year from January 1 to 3 depending on the response of those who would like to embrace us as brothers," the president said in a televised speech.
The declaration concerns members of the armed wing of the Philippines Communist party, the New People’s Army (NPA), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"To the NPA, although you do not declare any cessation of hostilities somewhere, I would like to invite everybody, leave your firearms where you are now, and you can come down in the cities where you live, you visit your family," he added.
The president assured rebels that no arrests or oppression would be imposed during the cease-fire.
"If you meet a soldier, you shake hands and if you don’t like, just ignore them," he said.
Duterte urged soldiers to treat the rebels as brothers by allowing them to eat inside their military camps.
"It’s very tiring to see each other fighting on Christmas. For the military camps, especially the army, kindly open your gates and allow the people to break bread with you even on Christmas Day," he said.
He underlined, however, that the cease-fire does not cover all.
"The Maute?" he asked, referring to a Daesh-affiliated group that last month laid siege to a southern town.
"I’m sorry. You just burned so many buses the other day. You have to pay for that. It will be no quarters given, no quarters asked. You know that," the president said.
He then warned criminals and other terrorist groups that his bloody crackdown on them would also continue.Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2016, 23:39