Communist rebels in the Philippines say they will observe a ceasefire after United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for an end to all armed conflicts in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak.
The Communist Party of the Philippines says its New People's Army has been ordered to stop all offensives from Thursday until April 15. The conflict has been going on for more than 50 years in one of Asia’s longest-running rebellions..
The rebels said the ceasefire is a “direct response to the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Guterres issued the call on Monday, saying, “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
The military estimates about 3,500 armed guerrillas remain after battle setbacks, infighting and surrenders reduced their forces in decades of fighting although the rebels claim they have more armed combatants.