NPA to observe holiday ceasefire; Military says no Somo
THE Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said Friday, December 7, that it will impose a temporary unilateral ceasefire in its ranks for the Christmas holidays and for its 50th founding anniversary.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), however, earlier rejected the ceasefire, saying the communist party has not been sincere with the agreement.
The central committee of the CPP-New People's Army (NPA) said in a statement though that the temporary ceasefire is effective 12:01 a.m. of December 24 until 11:59 p.m. of December 26, and at 12:01 a.m. of December 31 until 11:59 p.m. of January 1.
“The central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines hereby declare to all commands and units of the New People's Army and people's militias a temporary unilateral ceasefire in unity with the Filipino people’s observance of traditional holidays and provide the people and their revolutionary forces a brief period to pay tribute to their heroes and martyrs as they mark and celebrate the Party's upcoming 50th anniversary,” it said.
“During the days covered by this temporary ceasefire declaration, all units of the NPA and people's militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military campaigns and operations against uniformed armed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” it added.
The CPP said soldiers and policemen assigned in “guerilla territories of the NPA” may take a short break and take advantage of the time when they can visit their families and loved ones.
It said, though, that all units and commands of the NPA are directed to stay on alert for any possible active defense from the government side.
It said the ceasefire may be cut short or cancelled once the military attacks, but it may also be extended if positive condition arises.
“All Red fighters and commanders shall maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against hostile actions or movements by enemy armed forces, including those laying siege on communities and subjecting people to armed suppression and violence in the guise of socalled ‘peace and development operations’ or ‘law enforcement,’ and those mounting combat operations with the aim of encircling units of the NPA,” it said.
“At no point during this temporary unilateral ceasefire period should the NPA leave the people defenseless and place their units in danger... All Party organs and NPA units must continue to closely assess the situation, monitor enemy movements, immediately report the situation and any incident on the ground,” it added.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he refused to implement a suspension of military operations (Somo) with the CPP-NPA during the holiday season.
“No. I have objected to a Somo. We shall not allow the CPP to use a Somo to celebrate their 50th anniversary,” he said.
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said among the AFP's reasons for not implementing a Somo this year is that the CPP-NPA has not been sincere with the agreement of ceasefire.
“They continue with their terroristic and criminal activities, extortion, (and) harassment... We do not want to give them the opportunity to gather and mass up to joyfully celebrate their 50th anniversary,” he said.
“Experience told us, experience showed us that (a Somo) is not worth it,” he added.