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Gov’t declares 18-day ceasefire with communist rebels

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has declared an 18-day suspension of military operations (SOMO) with communist rebels.

The ceasefire will take effect Friday, December 16 and ends on January 2 next year.

Aquino made the announcement after the ceremonial signing of the 2012 budget at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacañang last Thursday (December 15).

“There will be suspension of military operations starting Friday until January 2, on the advice of both the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Department of National Defense,” the President said.

The President directed the military troops to suspend their offensive operations and return fire only in self-defense.

The government panel was instructed by the President to remain focused in pursuing the path to peace towards a just and honorable settlement of the decades-old conflict.