Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on February 3 decided to lift a unilateral ceasefire with the rebel group New People’s Army (NPA).

In a speech in North Cotabato province, Duterte said he has ordered Gen. Eduardo Ano, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to terminate the ceasefire from the evening the same day.

He described the truce as useless as the government has lost many soldiers over the past 48 hours. He also urged them to be ready to fight.

Earlier on February 1, the NPA announced that it is ending its unilateral ceasefire with the government, saying that the Duterte administration failed to heed its demand to free some 400 political prisoners.

The NPA also accused the Philippine army of taking advantage of the truce situation to encroach on areas controlled by the rebels.

In August 2016, the NPA announced a ceasefire, which is valid from August 28, 2016 to February 10, 2017, to pave the way for delayed peace talks with the government.

The fight between NPA and government soldiers has left nearly 30,000 dead since 1960. The NPA estimates its armed rebels at around 4,000 compared to its peak 26,000 in 1987.-VNA