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Duterte declares ceasefire with Reds amid COVID-19 threat


President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a ceasefire with the communist rebels as the government tries to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang said Wednesday.

The unilateral ceasefire will take effect on March 19 and will expire on April 15, according to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“The President has directed the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), to cease and desist from carrying out offensive military and police operations during the ceasefire period,” Panelo said.

“Through this ceasefire, the Philippine government aspires that the swift provision of public health assistance goes unimpeded with the movement of health workers and medical supplies to communities, as well as of people in need of immediate medical attention remains unhampered.”

Duterte made the pitch for a ceasefire in a televised address on Monday as he placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In response, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said Duterte should make a formal offer which will then be studied.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Tuesday Duterte’s call for ceasefire manifests his yearning for the safety of all his countrymen amid the threat of the deadly virus. —LDF, GMA News