The declaration of a 12-day ceasefire both by the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines is a welcome relief to both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and New People's Army rebels, Col. Francisco Delfin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
The 12-day unilateral ceasefire declared by the government and the CPP starts December 23 and ends January 3 next year.
“Our soldiers may be able to spend the yuletide season with their families”, Delfin said.
So, we may experience a peaceful Christmas celebration, he added.
The declaration will allow military and police personnel who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in their armed units to enter the territory of the people's democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends without fear of arrest or punitive actions, the CPP said in a statement.
At the same time, it ordered rebel units to be on the defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels and maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against any hostile actions or movements of the enemy armed forces, including encroachment on the territory of the people's democratic government, surveillance and other offensive operations including so-called peace and development, civil-military or peace and order operations.
“Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy forces,” it also said.
So long as they do not carry their firearms, Delfin said, NPA members may go back to their respective families and celebrate the yuletide season.
Ka JB Regalado, spokesman of the Leonardo Panaligan Command in central, in a tape-recorded statement, encouraged the strict observance of the ceasefire by their members.
Since the ceasefire will take effect on Dec. 23, the security operations will continue against the NPA remnants, Delfin said
But once the SOMO takes effect, soldiers will have a break to celebrate Christmas, he added.
Senior Supt. Samuel Nacion, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday said law enforcement operation, including the serving of arrest warrants to rebels are not covered by the SOMO.*GPB
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