Philippines: Why Maoist rebels are declaring an 8-day ceasefire?

Philippine governor seeks military help to prevent maoist rebels' harassment
Government forces board a military truck after Islamist militants, who had holed up in a primary school, retreated after a gunbattle with troops but were holding some civilians hostage, in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, Philippines June 21, 2017. Reuters

To many people's surprise, the communist rebels also known as the New People's Army (NPA) declared an eight-day unilateral ceasefire after the group made a series of violent attacks against military and police security forces of the Philippine government in the last four months.

The government is considering the NPA as a serious security threat as the maoist-leaning insurgent group flexed its muscle that unleashed strategic violent attacks on different police and military outposts nationwide that caught the ire of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

However, the NPA rebels also showed some soft spots on their hearts. They are declaring an 8-day ceasefire starting December 23 at 6:00 in the evening in observance of the Filipino tradition of the Christmas holidays and the group's 49th founding anniversary, slated on December 26.

Ka Oris, the group's spokesman said that all NPA units shall cease and desist from carrying out military operations against government security forces but appealed to the same units to be on active defense mode to defend the revolutionary group.

Despite the declared unilateral ceasefire, Ka Oris also reminded to maintain alertness for possible hostile actions by the Philippine military. He also asked all units to monitor any hostile actions and provocations initiated by the Philippine government.

On the part of the government, the president's spokesperson Harry Roque also said it is implementing two periods of ceasefire from December 23 to December 26 and from December 30 to January 2.

The peace talks between the Philippine government and the NPA rebels failed to reach a consensus agreement because the series of peace dialogues that begun early this year have not reached a ceasefire agreement. The government negotiating panel questioned the NPA's sincerity when it continued to ambush Philippine security forces despite the on-going peace dialogues in Norway.

The NPA is reported to have more than 4,000 armed militants and also thousands of sympathizers in the Philippine countryside. They are also the oldest insurgency operating in Southeast Asia. The NPA's goal is to establish a new government with socialist goals.

Duterte also warned another 50-year war, if the NPA rebels continue to attack Philippine security forces.