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    Posted December 21, 2013 by

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    Christmas ceasefire in Phl begins

    PHILIPPINE President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday directed the armed forces to suspend all military operations against enemies of the state.
    Aquino made the announcement a few hours after he approved the unilateral declaration of a nationwide Christmas ceasefire that began at 12:01 a.m. of December 21, 2013, and to end at 11:59 p.m. of January 15, 2014.
    “By this declaration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is directed to suspend all offensive military operations for the entire duration of the Christmas ceasefire. Our Security forces will maintain their defensive readiness in the protection of our people,” the President said.
    Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos 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.
    “This year, a Christmas ceasefire gains added urgency with the call for healing and rebuilding that resonate in this Season and its promise of a new life to all,” Deles said.
    In a matter of three months, Deles said, “our people have faced major tragedies that have left our nation deeply traumatized.”
    Deles was referring to the onslaught of killer typhoon “Yolanda” in Central Philippines that has caused the most extraordinary challenge for the entire Filipino people with the unparalleled and incomprehensible destruction it has left.
    “It has stretched our nation, indeed, all our minds and hearts, to its limits,” she said. “Our nation needs to bind our wounds and focus our energies and resources on the tasks at hand. It presents to our country and people the chance to start afresh, to build on new and just foundations: the common wealth for the common good, innovative approaches to governance and development based on justice and fairness, an understanding of nature’s gifts and perils, and the healing of Mother Earth.”
    Deles said that in in this season of faith, hope and solidarity, “we bind ourselves together as a people for the long-term effort to rebuild in our disaster areas and reconstruct the lives, livelihoods and property of the survivors.”

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