Philippine gov't to continue peace talks with leftist rebel group

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The Philippine government pledged Wednesday to continue to pursue the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) even after the holiday truce ended.

"On the president's instructions, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) continues to pursue alternative avenues for attaining peaceful resolution of conflict despite snags and challenges," Presidential Communications Operations secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Wednesday,

The Philippine government implemented a nationwide Christmas truce with the New People's Army, from Dec. 21, 2013 to Jan. 15 of 2014, the OPPAP said.

OPPAP secretary Teresita Deles said, "The government continues its traditional call for a Christmas ceasefire to allow those in conflict areas, whether soldier, rebel or civilian, safe passage to celebrate Advent with their families, far from all harm."

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) central committee also declared their traditional Yuletide truce starting from Dec. 20, 2012 to Jan. 15, 2013.

It has been a tradition that both the government and the CPP declare holiday truce each year, although it differs in duration.

The rebel group has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside for more than four decades. The military estimates the NPA strength at more than 4,000 men scattered in more than 60 guerrilla fronts throughout the country.

Peace talks between the government and the leftist rebels bogged down in February last year. The Aquino administration is working on a new approach to end the leftist insurgency. Endi

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