Malacañang maintained its stand on not declaring a suspension of military operations (SOMO) with the recently-declared terrorists Communist Party of the Philippines’ New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) over the Christmas holidays.
“Our defenders would not stand down as there has been call on the other side to launch offensives against state forces,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Sunday.
A SOMO during the yuletide season is a tradition which the rebels reciprocate as well. During its declaration, government forces are not involved in offensive operations but only on defensive ones in case of attacks.
According to Roque, CPP-NPA is “notorious for conducting treacherous attacks” in spite of a unilateral ceasefire in the past that.
“Declaring a SOMO now is not to the nation’s best interest as it would only expose our defenders to enemy attacks and embolden them to commit more atrocities, especially during their anniversary,” the Spokesman further said.
Though, he said that the government is still open to other possibilities.
“However, we do not discount possibilities that there may be circumstances that may arise for government to reconsider its present position,” he added.
Furthermore, an interview by DZMM with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday said that this should be in line with the Department of National Defense (DND).
“Every year, we declare a ceasefire during the Christmas season. And this Christmas season, the recommendation of the Department of National Defense is there would be no ceasefire. Whatever was recommended by Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana to the President, we will follow that,”
Earlier this month, Lorenzana mirrored the same decision, saying that they “can always break a tradition.”
“No, I will not [recommend a SOMO]. Because there was an order by their commanders to intensify operations against us. So kung mag-SOMO kami (if we have a SOMO), we will stand down and they will attack us again,” he said on December 5.