- The AFP suspends all military operations against communist rebels
- AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya issued a directive to all unit commanders to enforce a SOMO
- Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, hailed President Duterte’s declaration of ceasefire with CPP-NPA and NDF
The Armed Forces of the Philippines stopped all its military operations against communist rebels following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) during the president’s first State of the Nation Address.
“I am announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF effective immediately,” the President said; adding “I expect and call on our fellow Filipinos and the National Democratic Front and its forces to respond accordingly.”
According to InterAksyon, AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya issued a directive to all unit commanders to immediately enforce a suspension of military operations (SOMO).
“The SOMO covers the cessation of all military offensives against the CPP-NPA-NDF particularly its armed group, the New People’s Army, including the conduct of combat maneuvers that may be construed as provocative acts that may be deemed violative of the SOMO,” the directive read.
Visaya clarified that soldiers will not be pulled out in areas where they are urgently needed to deliver government social services to people, especially marginalized communities in remote areas.
“While the SOMO is in effect, however, the AFP shall continue to perform its mandate of protecting the communities and its people from terrorist groups; secure and protect from attacks or sabotage vital government facilities, military camps, infrastructures, and projects,” the AFP Chief said in a statement.
“The AFP shall likewise continue to support Law enforcement operations to help ensure unhampered flow of social, cultural, religious, political, and economic activities of the people and the delivery by the LGUs, LGAs, and NGOs to the communities,” he added.
Jose Maria Sison, founder of CPP and NDF’s political consultant, vowed a positive response to President Duterte’s declaration of ceasefire.
“We share with President Duterte the determination to resume the formal talks and work for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said.