Rodrigo Duterte has lifted a ceasefire with Communist rebels after a government militiaman was killed and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) failed to declare its own truce. The Filipino president had set a deadline 5pm (9am GMT) deadline for the rebels to reciprocate the ceasefire deadline, but presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said "there was none at the moment".
Duterte released a statement through Dureza after the time had elapsed. "Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering for the immediate lifting of the unilateral ceasefire that I ordered last July 25 against the Communist rebels," said Duterte.
He added: "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 citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land."
Ronald Dela Rosa, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said law enforcement officials "will follow the instructions of the commander-in-chief".
In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) lambasted the armed wing of the CPP, known as the New People's Army (NPA). It accused the NPA of foregoing "a golden opportunity to manifest their commitment to the attainment of our citizen's much-sought peace throughout the land".
Duterte has vowed to put an end to a decades-long communist insurgency which is one of the lengthiest in Asia. Both sides are preparing for resumed peace talks in Norway in August in a bid to end the 40-year insurgency. It is not yet clear whether the talks would be affected.
The rebels have said they will make an announcement tonight (30 July). On 27 July, a government militiaman was killed and four others injured after the NPA carried out an ambush in the southern Davao del Norte province.
Speaking after he attended the militiaman's wake, Duterte asked the rebels if they would adhere to the ceasefire. "If I don't get the word from you, then I will lift the order of ceasefire," the Filipino leader said.