MANILA –The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that the suspension-of-military-operation (SOMO) stays despite the announcement of the New People’s Army (NPA) that it will end its interim ceasefire by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 10.
Prior to the NPA decision to lift its unilateral ceasefire, the insurgents conducted a series of attacks against civilian and military targets in Batangas, Isabela, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Sarangani, Agusan Del Norte, and Surigao Del Norte last Jan. 29 and 30.
The unprovoked attacked killed two soldiers and wounded three others and resulted in the abduction of one.
“The SOMO stays. There will be no combat operations to be launched against the members of the NPA,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said .
He added that this is because the military believes in and would want to give peace a chance.
However, the NPA must show good faith and release 30th Infantry Battalion member Pfc. Erwin Salan whom the former abducted Alegria, Surigao Del Norte last Jan. 29, Arevalo said.
“We will continue to perform peace-building and development efforts where the people in conflict areas request us to. We will continue to capacitate local government to deliver basic goods and services to their constituents,” he stressed.
In the same vein, Arevalo said the AFP will continue to safeguard the communities from criminal acts of extortion, burning of vehicles, farm and livelihood implements and other forms of criminal and atrocious acts – whoever is the perpetrator.
“And if ordered by the Commander-in-Chief, we will lift the SOMO. It is our beholden duty to protect our citizens,” he added.