MANILA (19-Dec-2012/PNA) – Despite the implementation of the suspension of military operations (SOMO) starting this Sunday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa on Saturday said that the military will maintain its security patrols aimed at protecting civilian communities, government and private establishments, and military camps and detachments.
SOMO against the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels runs from Dec. 16, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013.
Dellosa said that the SOMO also included route security and checkpoint operations for protection of civilian movements and preemption of firearms proliferation; “Bayanihan” teams’ conduct of peace and development activities; and other civil military operations.
“Moreover, taking into consideration the transgressions of the NPA in the past that took advantage of the ceasefire of the AFP, the military will continue with its proactive defense countermeasures to prevent imminent NPA attacks,” Dellosa added.
Last year, the New People’s Army took advantage of the 18-day SOMO and harassed a community-organizing peace and development team and killed five enlisted personnel.
“We hope that the past transgressions and violations committed by the rebels that stained the holidays with violence will not happen again this year. We know fully well the importance of ceasefires in the quest for peace as proven by the successful signing of the Bangsamoro Peace Framework Agreement,” Dellosa said.
Also in time with the AFP’s 77th anniversary celebrations this coming Dec. 21, the SOMO will allow soldiers to celebrate peacefully the decades of heroic acts and sacrifices in service of the Filipino people.
“As a nation that nurtures its free and democratic institutions, the AFP takes its time to recognize and acknowledge the collective and selfless efforts of its soldiers that were instrumental in maintaining peace and security in our communities, especially now that many of our men and women are working round the clock conducting search, rescue and relief operations in disaster-stricken areas in Mindanao. Our adherence to the SOMO is but a small part of our commitment to achieving that lifetime of peace, security, and development our people deserve,” he said. (PNA)