AFP stops all offensives vs NPA
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) halted its offensives against communist rebels starting Monday as President Rodrigo Duterte directed the military to hold a unilateral ceasefire.
The suspension of offensive military operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) was directed by Armed Forces chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya to all military commanders, the AFP said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Somo covers the cessation of all military offensives against the CPP-NPA-NDF particularly its armed group, the New People’s Army, including the conduct of combat maneuvers that may be construed as provocative acts that may be deemed violative of the Somo,” the directive read.
But while the Somo is in effect, the directive said the military shall continue its mandate of protecting communities from terrorist groups, and secure and protect from attacks or sabotage vital government facilities, military camps, infrastructures, and projects.
“The AFP shall likewise continue to support law enforcement operations to help ensure unhampered flow of social, cultural, religious, political, and economic activities of the people and the delivery by the LGUs, LGAs, and NGOs to the communities,” the directive added.
The AFP said it would “exhaust all efforts to support the Commander in Chief’s peace initiatives” with communists to attain peace and sustained development.
In his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte announced a unilateral ceasefire with the communists effective immediately, to set an atmosphere conducive for peace talks.
The government and the NDF are set to resume formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway, late next month./rga
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