Philippines: President Duterte declares ceasefire with communists

    Philippines: President Duterte declares ceasefire with communists

    July 25, Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced a unilateral ceasefire with communist fighters, saying it is his "dream" to end the armed struggle which has raged for decades, media report said.

    In his first State of the Nation address to the Philippine congress, Duterte on Monday urged the fighters to reciprocate as he laid the groundwork for peace talks due to begin in Norway next month.

    According to reports, the communist rebellion and government attacks have left dead around 30,000 people since the 1960s.

    The communists' armed wing, the New People's Army, is believed to have fewer than 4,000 fighters today, down from a peak of 26,000 in the 1980s, according to the military.

    But it retains support among the deeply poor in rural areas, and its forces regularly kill police or troops.

    Duterte, who assumed the presidency on June 30 after a landslide election win, said it was time to stop the violence.

    Duterte, who counts exiled rebel leader Jose Maria Sison as a friend, had said in recent weeks he was prepared to release 11 communist members to take part in the talks, Al Jazeera reported.

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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