Philippines eyes truce with communist rebels amid siege of militants in southern city

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—The Philippine government said Sunday that it would suspend offensives against communist guerrillas to reciprocate a similar plan by the insurgents and allow troops to focus on quelling a bloody siege by Daesh, also known as ISIS, aligned militants that has dragged on for nearly a month in a southern city.Philippine negotiator Silvestre Bello III said the government move aims to foster talks for a cease-fire accord and a peace pact with New People’s Army rebels. Troops have been battling communist and Muslim militants simultaneously in the country’s south.“The Philippine government hereby correspondingly reciprocates with the same declaration of not undertaking offensive operations against the New People’s Army,” Bello said in a statement, without specifying when such a suspension of government offensives would take effect and under what terms.Despite the peace overtures, Philippine troops killed five communist rebels in separate clashes in the south while the guerrillas stormed a police station in a central town and seized a dozen assault rifles and pistols over the weekend, officials said.Read more: Article Continued BelowPhilippine troops attack Daesh-linked extremists in besieged city of MarawiClashes in Marawi fuel fear of Daesh foothold in southern PhilippinesThree communist guerrillas were killed in Davao Oriental province and two others died in Compostela Valley in separate clashes with army troops Saturday, military officials said.