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PHILIPPINES LEGALIZES THE COMMUNIST PARTY

The Philippines legalized the Communist Party Tuesday, which had been outlawed for 35 years, and urged leftist rebels to lay down their arms and make peace with the government.

President Fidel Ramos approved a law repealing the 1957 anti-subversion act declaring the party an illegal organization and prohibiting membership in it.The lifting of the anti-communist ban has been been described by officials as a major government step toward ending southeast Asia's longest-running Marxist insurgency.