Bacolod City – There will be no suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the New People’s Army in Negros, disclosed Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, the commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade.
“We will continue our regular security operations,” Pasaporte said.
In previous years, the AFP has implemented a truce with communist groups during the holidays, usually lasting one to two weeks.
That practice has been stopped by the Duterte administration due to allegations from both the government and the CPP-NPA of violations of the truce.
Pasaporte recently issued an appeal for the NPA remnants in Negros to take advantage of the yuletide season to abandon the armed struggle and reunite with their respective families.
The NPA is no longer getting the support of the people in Negros island, Pasaporte declared.
This year 2022, he said the 303rd Infantry Brigade initiated 39 encounters with the NPA, resulting in the neutralization of majority of key leaders of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, including its regional commander, Romeo Nanta, and its deputy secretary, Ericson Acosta, who died in recent gun battles in cities of Himamaylan and Kabankalan, respectively.
Pasaporte also reported that many of its combatants, especially in central Negros, have abandoned the armed struggle and surrendered their weapons.
The NPA remnants are now always on the run, following neutralization of their key leaders, he further said, adding they may not be able to hold the 54th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, as what they do in previous years, usually by staging attacks against government forces or outposts.
We intend to remain them on that situation, Pasaporte said.
Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and concurrent chief of the AFP Visayas Command, yesterday said he not receive any orders to observe a holiday truce in Visayas.
Regular military operations against the NPA will continue, Arevalo said.
The AFP recently deployed the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion in Eastern Visayas, which is under the supervision of VisCom.
As VisCom acting chief, Arevalo supervises the Army’s 3rd and 8th Infantry Divisions, Philippine Air Force and Navy personnel and assets deployed in the Visayas region. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)