By BicolToday.com News Team
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – So far, the guns of internal conflict in the Bicol Region are silent, but “distrust” for both sides lingers.
Amid the Christmas ceasefire in effect since December 23 which will end two days after New Year, January 3, 2016, the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) is still in a “defensive mode”, a gesture that an “attitude of distrust” for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) runs high at the leadership level.
In a rebel statement issued December 15, 2015, as noted by Luis Jalandoni, chair of negotiating panel, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the NPA high command warned NPA units to stay vigilant against “hostile actions” by AFP units.
Its attitude of distrust for AFP during this Christmas ceasefire period may be attributed to AFP military operations during ceasefires in the past years.
In the past, there were reports of State security forces launching military operations against NPA units during ceasefire periods, but such reports were denied by the AFP high command.
“While all units of the NPA and the people’s militias shall be on defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels, they shall nonetheless maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against any hostile actions or movements of the enemy armed forces including encroachment on the territory of the people’s democratic government, surveillance and other offensive operations including so-called “peace and development”, “civil-military” or “peace and order” operations. Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy forces,” the rebel statement said, as posted in the internet.
On the government side, the ceasefire declared by AFP is effective only until January 1, 2016, two days shorter than the rebels’ own declaration of ending the truce on January 3.
The State declaration covers the suspension of military operations (SOMO) by AFP against the NPA.
As of Sunday, December 27, there are no reports of the two sides breaking the Christmas truce.
The ceasefire declared by both sides appears to be holding. [BicolToday.com]