PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has declared a suspension of military operation (SOMO) against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) beginning midnight of December 23 until January 3, 2016.
Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the announcement late Friday afternoon, saying the President has separately issued Proclamation 1186 declaring a state of calamity in areas hit by Typhoon Nona (international codename: Melor)
“President Aquino has approved the DND’s [Department of National Defense] recommendation for the unilateral declaration of SOMO against the NPA from 23 December 2015 to 3 January 2016. The President has also issued Proclamation 1186 declaring a state of national calamity to hasten the rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Nona,” Coloma said.
It has been customary for the President to declare a ceasefire during the Christmas holidays until after the New Year to prevent bloodshed during revelries. Similarly, the communist movement declares its own suspension of offensives.
Coloma said the presidential proclamation was issued as effects of Nona continued to be felt in Southern Luzon and Central Luzon.
He earlier assured that the government is making sure that the correct assistance is rendered to victims of the powerful typhoon.
Coloma said the storm “left a trail of destruction, substantial damage and deaths in several areas in the country including the provinces of Albay, Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Sorsogon.”
“The declaration of the state of national calamity is meant among others to ‘… hasten the rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and private sector…’ and ‘…effectively control the prices of basic goods and commodities for affected areas…’ and to continue to provide basic services to residents of affected communities,” he added.