AFP yet to declare holiday ceasefire

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Friday, December 20, 2013

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has yet to issue a suspension of military operations (Somo) order even as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) already declared a six-day ceasefire during the holidays.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) deputy commander Captain Severino David, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao on Friday, said: "Wala pa kaming official declaration at this time dahil hinihintay pa namin ang order galing sa General Headquarters (We don't have the declaration at this time since we are awaiting orders from the General Headquarters)."

David acknowledged the ceasefire declaration of the CPP, saying, "It is good that they have declared a ceasefire and this shows that they really want to spend Christmas with their families. Hopefully they will live up to their ceasefire so that we will have a peaceful Christmas celebration."

The deputy commander, however, noted that CPP's armed wing New People's Army (NPA) violated the ceasefire agreement last year.

"There was a breach in the conduct of the ceasefire last year since there might have been a lack of coordination between the leaders of CPP and the NPA. So we will just have to be wary of the moves of the NPA," David added.

EastMinCom spokesperson Captain Alberto Caber, in a separate interview, said: "Sana naman at ang ceasefire nila ay hindi lang dito sa certain period na kanilang na-set. Sana ay tuluyan na nilang lisanin na nila ang armadong pakikibaka. Let's be committed to peace (We are hoping that the ceasefire would not be settled on the certain period they have set. We hope that they will completely leave the armed struggle. Let's be committed to peace)."

The CPP, in a statement published at the website, announced on Wednesday that their ceasefire will cover the periods of December 24 to 26 and December 31 to January 4.

"This ceasefire declaration is being issued in solidarity with the Filipino people’s traditional observance of Christmas and New Year holidays. Furthermore, the ceasefire declaration is being issued in order to allow the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces to join mass celebrations to mark the 45th anniversary of the CPP’s re-establishment on Dec. 26. NPA Red fighters will be ensuring the security of large numbers of people anticipated to flock to the various assembly points in the guerrilla zones to join the celebrations," the statement read.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 21, 2013.

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