On Tuesday, March 24, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) agreed to a ceasefire with the government, pausing their decades-long conflict. The party's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) will refrain from conducting offensive operations from Thursday, March 26, until Wednesday, April 15.
The move follows the Philippine government's unilateral ceasefire declaration on Thursday, March 19, and comes amid a call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for all armed groups worldwide to pause hostilities and allow for states to turn their attention towards combatting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the past three years, the CPP-NPA and central government have engaged in several rounds of peace talks to end the 50-year long communist insurgency. However, both sides have been accused of violating previous ceasefires.
Individuals in the southern Philippines and Manila are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
As a reminder, several Western governments advise against travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to the risk of kidnapping and terrorism.