THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday denied allegations that the Army violated the ongoing ceasefire between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a statement issued yesterday by AFP-Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the AFP is strictly following the agreement and the provision of the suspension of military operation (SOMO).
“The AFP denies allegations of violating the provisions of the suspension of military operations (SOMO). We’re following it to the letter,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo explained that the SOMO prescribes combat operations but allows for law enforcement or support for law enforcement operations.
He added that military operation does not contravene the SOMO if AFP units support or capacitate local governments to bring basic government services to their constituents.
“We do not know of any territory but poor communities in the countryside where citizens yearn for the presence of government to bring about development and peace and order,” he said.
In line with this, Arevalo said the AFP has monitored NPA recruitment operations but the AFP did not complain about it even if their leaders already confirmed it.
“The AFP has monitored NPA recruitment operations. Their leaders confirm it. But we do not complain about it but we’re recording it. We hope that a joint ceasefire agreement will be signed soon. That should provide for what may constitute violations and the mechanism on how to address violations of the agreement,” he said.