Ceasefire with Communist rebels takes effect Sunday

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(File photo) New People's Army troops in training.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — In order to "walk the extra mile for peace," President Rodrigo Duterte declared the restoration of the ceasefire with Communist rebels effective Sunday.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus "Jess" Dureza made the announcement before departing for Oslo, Norway Saturday for the continuation of formal peace talks with Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) leaders.

"President Rodrigo Duterte has restored the effects of unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF(P), effective 12 midnight tonight, 21 August 2016," Dureza said.

"The duration of ceasefire will last for as long as necessary to bring peace in the land."

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The Department of National Defense (DND) said it has anticipated the President's declaration and fully supports the restoration of the ceasefire with the communist rebels.

"With the progress we have made and the work we still have to do, we look forward to put an end to the insurgency problem that has claimed tens of thousands of lives-not just from the ranks of the communist guerrillas and the government defenders but also innocent lives of civilian non-combatants who are caught in the middle," the DND statement read.

The DND also said it welcomes the ceasefire declaration of the CPP-NPA-NDFP, and "views this as a manifestation of their goodwill in response to the government's determined and sincere efforts to bring about just and lasting peace in our land."

The DND directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the immediate implementation of the ceasefire declaration — however, it clarified that the ceasefire is not applicable to lawless armed groups.

"The AFP, with all its field units and personnel, is instructed to comply with the restoration of ceasefire as directed by our President and Commander-In-Chief, support the peace process and help ensure that the ceasefire will hold."

Watch: Duterte tackles peace efforts

The AFP Chief of Staff will issue further instruction regarding the suspension of military operations and other related matters.

The Defense Department — while urging the public to be vigilant in guarding against lawless elements — also urged the Filipino people to rally behind the President in attaining lasting peace in the country.

CNN Philippines' Camille Abadicio contributed to this report.

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