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After papal visit, Army returns to war footing

LUCENA CITY—The Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) of the Armed Forces is back on war footing after Pope Francis ended his state and pastoral visit, according to a top Solcom official.

Maj. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, head of Solcom based in Camp Nakar here, said in a statement that after successful security operations for the Pope, soldiers assigned to the command have been “invigorated in pursuing its campaign for peace in the region.”

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The government declared a truce from Dec. 19 to Jan. 19 in observance of the Yuletide season and papal visit while communist rebels reciprocated with a staggered truce on Dec. 24 to 26; Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 for the holidays, and Jan. 15 to 19 for the papal visit.

Visaya said all forces under his command “will continually sharpen their tools of war and improve their fighting capability… and keep the enemy on the run.”

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He claimed that Solcom’s counterinsurgency operations had stalled the growth of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army in Southern Luzon.

Visaya said there has been a steady decline in the number of guerrillas, their weapons and number of villages that are considered under rebel influence.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, communist rebels, counterinsurgency operations, guerrillas, New People's Army, papal visit, Pope Francis, Ricardo R. Visaya, SOLCOM, Southern Luzon Command
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