“We can always break a tradition”: Defense chief not likely to recommend holiday ceasefire with communist rebels

Image capture of video by Liam Sophia via YouTube, DND, Wikipedia

After the New People’s Army (NPA) leadership recently vowed to intensify attacks against military targets, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that he won’t likely recommend a holiday truce with them.

Lorenzana told reporters when asked if he will recommend a ceasefire this holiday season: “No, I will not. Because there was an order by their commanders to intensify operations against us. So kung mag SOMO [suspension of military operations] kami (if we do a SOMO), we will stand down and they will attack us again.” 

Through the years during Christmas holidays, the SOMO had been a tradition of both sides.

But Lorenzana said: “We can always break a tradition.”

During a SOMO, government forces refrain from offensive operations but remain on guard for attacks.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently declared the termination of peace talks with communist rebels following the successive attacks of communist rebels.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order officially declaring the NPA as a terrorist organization.

Last year, Duterte declared  a halt to military offensives from Dec. 23 to 27 2016 and from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3, 2017.

Secretary Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana is the 36th Secretary of National Defense. With more than 40 years of serving the Philippines in defense and foreign relations, Lorenzana has made significant contributions in both his military and diplomatic careers.