Government declares ceasefire

THE GOVERNMENT declared a seven-day suspension of offensive military and police operations (SOMO/SOPO) on Valentine’s Day, a day before peace negotiations resume in Oslo Norway.

A statement from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said that the SOMO shall cover only deliberate offensive military actions against the New People’s Army (NPA). It shall not cover defensive military actions aimed at securing and protecting the community, and individual and units of the AFP against violent attack.  Likewise, the SOPO shall not cover normal law enforcement operations, and shall be without prejudice to actions aimed at protecting the people and communities as well as PNP troops and installations against NPA attacks during the SOMO/SOPO period.

The SOMO/SOPO is part of the government’s confidence building measures during the peace negotiations.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall observe SOMO/SOPO against the NPA for a total of seven days, from 12:01 a.m. of February 15 to 11:59 p.m. of February 21,” the statement said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared a one-week
ceasefire last February 12, effective 12:01 a.m. of February 15 to 11:59 p.m. of February 21.

The one-week truce was previously agreed upon during the informal meeting held on January 14-18.

“In conformity with the mutual ceasefire between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a confidence and goodwill measure to mark the resumption of the formal talks after six years, all the commands and units of the NPA shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and paramilitary forces of the government,” the CPP announced in their statement.

While the ceasefire is in effect, all NPA units will be in a defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels.

The CPP hopes that the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the NDF will “improve the atmosphere for peace negotiations particularly upon the resumption of formal talks.” Albus D. Estabas

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