AFP recommends SOMO during holidays

December 23, 2009 11:10 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 23 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will likely approve the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) during Christmas and the New Year when she returns from Albay, where she personally inspected the condition of Mayon volcano evacuees.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita told reporters during a briefing Wednesday morning that Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado had recommended the declaration of a unilateral SOMO against the New People’s Army (NPA) from 1 a.m. of Dec. 24 to noon of Dec. 26 and from 1 a.m. of Dec. 31 to noon of Jan. 1.

“It can very well be that when the President reads this, she (may) probably extend it. We do not know. But for the moment, that is the recommendation coming from the Armed Forces,” Ermita said.

SOMO will allow AFP soldiers, their families, and the communities they serve to celebrate the holidays in peace and tranquility.

Dec. 26 is the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-NPA, when the armed leftist group normally displays its military might.

“We hope they will not desecrate the holiness of the season because the AFP, despite suspension of military offensive, will maintain the usual preparedness, especially in outposts far away from headquarters.”

On whether a similar SOMO will be declared against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Ermita said, the suspension of hostilities is in effect on account of the ongoing peace talks. (PNA)

scs/OPS/ssc

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