SIX days before Christmas arrives, the Palace bared that no suspension of military operations (Somo) with the New People's Army (NPA) during the holidays is best for the country considering terror threats in the communities.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement issued on Sunday, December 17, that Somo or the temporary ceasefire with the terrorist groups would be impossible this coming yuletide season as it will only lead to escalation of atrocities.

"Declaring a Somo now is not to the nation's best interest as it would only expose our defenders to enemy attacks and embolden them to commit more atrocities, especially during their anniversary," he said.

Roque, however, said even without the Somo, they do not "discount possibilities that there may be circumstances that may arise for government to reconsider its present position."

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as a terrorist organization under the Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 as basis following the series of violent attacks of its armed wing, the NPA, against uniformed personnel and innocent civilians.

"The decision not to declare a suspension of military operations (Somo) with the members of the New People's Army over the Christmas holidays stays," Roque said.

The security forces will also be on alert status for possible treacherous attacks they will launch as the holidays near. Even during the imposition of unilateral ceasefire last year, the NPA continues with their illegal activities and has not reciprocated the government's goodwill.

"Our defenders would not stand down as there has been call on the other side to launch offensives against state forces," he added.

In an interview on December 17 with 10th Infantry Division (ID) commander Major General Noel S. Clement, he said the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) has not recommended any cessation of military operations with the NPA despite the Christmas season.

"As far as the military is concerned, we are not going to recommend. But the Somo kasi is a political decision, so we will leave it our political leadership headed by our President if he will declare cessation of military operations," he said.

Prior to the declaration of the Palace, he said they have been continuing with their relentless effort in the crackdown of the NPA members and the delivery of government's basic services through their Community Support Programs to further encourage the rebels to surrender before the troops.

With Christmas fast approaching, he said the armed forces are on full alert status to protect the communities and keep the peace and order.

"We will have to sacrifice because hindi na natin pwedeng sabihin na porket nag Christmas eh, we will lower down our guards," Clement said. "We may send our forces to avail the Christmas season meron paring matitira to continue protecting our communities."

Last year, there was a Somo on the heels of the implementation of the unilateral ceasefire to allow the NPAs to celebrate also the holiday season with their loved ones without firefights.

Authorities have alerted their troops and police units against possible attacks to be further carried out by the insurgents in the following days as the CPP's 49th anniversary draws near.