President Benigno Aquino 3rd declared a 26-day Christmas truce with communist rebels starting Saturday.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said on Friday the President approved the “unilateral declaration by the government of a nationwide Christmas ceasefire” starting today.
The truce begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will last until midnight of January 15.
Deles said that during the ceasefire, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “will maintain their defensive readiness in the protection of our people.”
The ceasefire allows people “in conflict areas, whether soldier, rebel or civilian, safe passage to celebrate Advent with their families, far from all harm,” she added.
“This year, a Christmas ceasefire gains added urgency with the call for healing and rebuilding that resonate in this Season and its promise of a new life to all,” she said.
“In this season of faith, hope and solidarity, we bind ourselves together as a people for the long-term effort to rebuild in our disaster areas and reconstruct the lives, livelihoods and property of the survivors. May the peace and goodwill that must dwell in our hearts become building blocks for a healing and enduring peace in our land,” Deles said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE