CAGAYAN DE ORO City, Feb. 15, 2011â€”The Government of the Philippines (GPH) declared a seven-day suspension of offensive military and police operations (SOMO/SOPO) on Valentines Day, a day before peace negotiations resume in Oslo Norway, the first after six years.
â€œThe SOMO shall cover only deliberate offensive military actions against the New Peopleâ€™s Army. It shall not cover defensive military actions aimed at securing and protecting the community, and individual and units of the AFP against violent attack. Likewise, the SOPO shall not cover normal law enforcement operations, and shall be without prejudice to actions aimed at protecting the people and communities as well as PNP troops and installations against NPA attacks during the SOMO/SOPO period,â€ said a statement from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
The statement said that the SOMO/SOPO is part of the governmentâ€™s â€œconfidence building measuresâ€ during the peace negotiations.
â€œIn this regard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall observe a suspension of offensive military and police operations against the New Peopleâ€™s Army (NPA) for a total of seven days, from 12:01 a.m. on 15 February to 23:59 p.m. (11:59) on 21 February 2011,â€ the statement said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared a one-week ceasefire last Feb. 12, effective 12:01 a.m. of Feb. 15 to 11:59 p.m. of Feb. 21.
The one-week truce was previously agreed upon during the informal meeting held on January 14-18.
â€œIn conformity with the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a confidence and goodwill measure to mark the resumption of the formal talks after six years, all the commands and units of the NPA shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and paramilitary forces of the GPH,” the CPP announced in their statement.
While the ceasefire is in effect, all NPA units will be in a defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels.
â€œActive self-defense shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy,â€ it added.
The CPP hopes that the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the NDF will â€œimprove the atmosphere for peace negotiations particularly upon the resumption of formal talksâ€ and â€œinspire the release of political prisoners, the full implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the end of human rights violations in consonance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.â€ (Bong D. Fabe)