Army awaits ceasefire order for holidays

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Monday, December 16, 2013

THE Philippine Army in Negros Occidental is still waiting for an order from the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) for the suspension of offensive military operations (Somo) or a ceasefire for the Christmas holidays.

Colonel Jon Aying, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia town, said he is amenable to the declaration of a ceasefire so that both the military and the rebels can join their respective families during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

"We have not received any order yet," Aying said.

Last year, the Armed Forces declared a Somo from December 16, 2012 to January 2, 2013.

Aying said the Somo is meant to demonstrate the military’s commitment, sincerity and resolve for peace in the face of the continuing armed conflict.

During the observance of the Somo, the AFP maintains its security patrols aimed at protecting civilian communities, government and private establishments, and military camps and detachment as well as its route security and checkpoint operations for the protection of civilian movements and preemption of firearms proliferation.

The AFP Bayanihan Teams also continue to conduct peace and development activities and other civil military operations during the ceasefire period.

The military units are also under orders to be on guard against rebels’ exploiting the Somo to mount attacks.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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