MANILA, Philippines – The government will observe a suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against communist rebels during the Christmas holidays, Malacañang announced on Friday, December 18.
Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a statement that the unilateral SOMO declaration will be observed from December 23 to January 3, 2016.
President Benigno Aquino III approved the holiday SOMO upon the recommendation of the Department of National Defense, Coloma said.
Malacañang made the announcement 3 days after the National Democratic Front (NDF) ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to cease all offensive operations against the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the same period – from the first minute of December 23, until midnight of January 3, 2016.
Hours before the declaration, suspected NPA members attacked a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) truck with relief goods headed to Northern Samar, one of the areas badly hit by Typhoon Nona (Melor).
The government traditionally declares a holiday ceasefire in military operations against rebels. – Rappler.com
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