Law enforcement operations vs communist rebels continue despite ceasefire: PNP
The Philippine National Police on Monday said the Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) against the communist rebels does not cover normal police operations
“In compliance with the directive of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, I have declared a Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) against the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) effective past midnight today, December 23, 2019 until 11:59pm of January 7, 2020,” said PNP’s Offcer-in-charge, Police Lieutenant Archie Francisco Gamboa in a press briefing.
Gamboa said under the SOPO declaration, all police units shall refrain from initiating combat operations against the NPA.
“However, the SOPO shall not cover normal police law enforcement and public safety operations against criminality, illegal drugs and terrorism, including, but not limited to, the service the service of warrants of arrest, search warrants, and other judicial processes; and enforcement of laws that prohibit unlawful possession of firearms, explosives and other illegal items,” he said.
Gamboa said although there are no specific guidelines, they understand that the SOPO is for tactical offensives.
“The implementation of warrants of arrest, search warrants is purely law enforcement function,” Gamboa said.
“All PNP units are instructed to be vigilant in the performance of their duties to prevent any untoward incident resulting from hostile actions of domestic threat groups and criminal organizations,” he said.
“All units shall implement active and passive measures as necessary to deter and/or prevent the NPA from taking advantage of the SOPO. Recognizing the inherent right to self-defense, all units must remain on-guard and maintain a high state of operational readiness to respond to enemy hostile actions,” he said..
He reminded that the SOPO shall be observed and respected by all units and personnel of the PNP.
Gamboa said all PNP units in Luzon and Visayas remain on full alert to ensure readiness of PNP units in responding to emergencies during the holiday season.
Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire last Sunday night following the recommendation of the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front officials. Ella Dionisio/DMS