AFP suspends operations vs NPA for 1 month
MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday declared a monthlong suspension of military operations (Somo) against the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“We would like to announce that upon the recommendation of the AFP, as concurred by the Philippine National Police, and favorably endorsed by the Department of National Defense, the President has approved the Unilateral Declaration of Suspension of Military and Police Operations against the CPP-NPA from midnight of December 18 to midnight of January 19, 2015,” AFP chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr. told reporters.
Catapang noted, however, that in the unilateral Somo, security forces engaged in law enforcement operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response and defensive operations, which include security of vital installations and infrastructure projects, will continue their current posture to operate to ensure the safe and secure celebration of the Yuletide season.
The Philippine government is battling about 4,000 NPA members, mostly in Mindanao.
“The AFP will continue to undertake active security operations and proactive actions to secure civilian communities, government establishments, investment facilities, vital installations and military bases,” he said.
The ceasefire period will end on the last day of the Pope’s visit in 2015. Pope Francis will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19.
Catapang said he believed that the NPA would reciprocate their declaration of the Somo.
The all-out law enforcement operations against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters will still continue, he said.
Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police, said they would “always maintain their defensive posture” in all vital installations.
“We do not want any atrocities from their end to happen in our end,” he said.
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