Military: NPA members violated holiday ceasefire

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27) — The Philippine Army revealed members of the New People's Army violated its holiday ceasefire in Compostela Valley.

In a statement, the Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID) said about 30 fully-armed rebels chased and attempted to capture  on Christmas Day Arbilito Catampao, a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary in Compostela Valley.

It added the Melale Patrol Base with the CAFGU Active Auxiliary Company in the same province was also "harassed" by an undetermined number of NPA members on Christmas day, where a two-minute firefight ensued between the two camps.

While there were no casualties on the government side, several NPA terrorists were killed, the statement said.

10th ID commander Maj. Gen. Noel Clement said the NPA movements were a violation of the holiday ceasefire.

"Their celebration is usually accompanied by armed attacks against the people that reflect their true color as a criminal organization void of any ideology," Clement said.

He added the division will remain on the defensive stance and continue being vigilant.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the NPA on December 19, effective 6 p.m. on December 23 to 11:59 p.m. on December 26, and on the same hours from December 30 to January 2, 2018.

READ: Duterte declares unilateral holiday ceasefire with communist rebels

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, responded by declaring its own holiday ceasefire, effective 6 p.m. on December 23 to 6 p.m. on December 26, and the same hours on December 30 to January 2, 2018.

READ: NPA declares unilateral ceasefire, three days after Duterte's call for a truce

Duterte earlier declared the CPP-NPA movement a terrorist organization.

If a person or entity is charged with terrorism, they would be sentenced to jail for 40 years without parole. The penalty is heavier than rebellion, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years of imprisonment, but eligible for pardon after 30 years.

Rebellion, insurrection, murder, and arson may count as terrorist acts under the law.

READ: President Duterte declares the communist party and its armed wing a terrorist organization