Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday lifted the unilateral ceasefire with the leftist rebels and ordered the security forces to be “on high alert”.

“I am hereby ordering the immediate lifting of the unilateral ceasefire that I ordered on July 25 against the communist rebels,” Xinhua news agency quoted Dutarte as saying.

On July 25, Duterte declared the unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels, voicing the hope that the rebels will reciprocate.

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The President withdrew the truce declaration after the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) failed to meet his ultimatum for the rebels to reciprocate the armistice.

After lifting of the unilateral truce, Duterte ordered the Armed Forces and Philippine Police to withdraw the operational guidelines issued in pursuance to the ceasefire declaration.

“I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralise all threats to national security, protect the citizens, enforce the laws and maintain peace,” he said.

He issued the ultimatum after the rebels ambushed a group of paramilitary in southern province of Davao del Norte, two days after he declared the unilateral suspension of offensive military operations on July 25.

A militiaman was killed and four others were wounded in the attack.

The rebels have been fighting the government since 1969 in one of Asia’s longest-running insurgency.

Philippine government has been trying to forge peace with the leftist rebels since 1986 but the on-off talks have faltered many times in the past.

According to the officials, the formal peace talks in Norway on August 20-27 will push through despite the lifting of the ceasefire.

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