QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lt.Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, has declared a suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) effective yesterday, December 16, until January 02, 2013, in celebration of the holiday season as well as the AFP’s demonstration of its “commitment, sincerity and support to the primacy of the peace process,” according to the AFP’s official website.
Dellosa has provided the operational guidelines to all unit and field commanders in the AFP for their strict compliance. The guidelines will simply “cover deliberate offensive operations against the NPA and shall not include military actions aimed to secure and protect the populace, vital installations, major investment infrastructures and communities against violent attacks.”
But this will “not prevent the inherent right of the AFP for individual and unit self-defense and for law enforcement functions conducted in support to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies.,” it also said.
Security patrols of the AFP in all its military camps, detachments, and other communities as stated in the guidelines will likewise continue during the said SOMO. The security routines of soldiers, their assistance to community based peace and development efforts, and regular information collection and documentation efforts will also stay as it is even during the ceasefire.
“This is to give our brothers and sisters who have gone the wrong path, a chance to celebrate Christmas and bond with their families and loved ones peacefully,” Dellosa said in a statement.