MANILA – The 18-day unilateral truce declared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the spirit of the Christmas season ended yesterday.
The ceasefire started December 16 to give soldiers a break during the Christmas holiday.
Maj. Harold Cabunoc, Philippine Army spokesman, said soldiers immediately resumed their peace and development missions in the remote barangays of the country, but are forewarned to be security-conscious at all times for possible attacks by New People’s Army rebels as they have been doing in the past.
Last month, communist rebels attacked the lightly-armed community organizing and peace development teams in Surigao del Sur, killing some of them.
The Philippine Army is in the forefront in the implementation of the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” program in the remaining insurgency-affected areas in the country.
The IPSP counter-insurgency strategy implemented in January 2011 has been very successful as hundreds of NPA rebels have returned to the fold of the law and opted to live a peaceful life with the government extending livelihood program to them.
Under the IPSP, the government gives more emphasis on development in rebel-affected areas.
Under the IPSP strategy, the goal is winning the peace rather than simply defeating the enemy.
In support to Bayanihan, the Army has adopted the non-traditional approach in ending the country’s decades-old insurgency, recognizing that insurgency cannot be solved through military action alone, but more importantly through peace and development initiatives in partnership with other stakeholders of society.
It highlights the increased involvement of stakeholders, the national and local government agencies, non-government entities and the entire citizenry in addressing peace and security concerns.
Various divisions and units of the Philippine Army nationwide had already adopted the “Whole of Nation Approach” and “People-Centered Approach” which both focus on winning the peace for the people.
Last year, the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division also extended medical and dental services to the residents of Iloilo and Negros Oriental, making available basic health services particularly to the less fortunate ones.
Meanwhile, Army soldiers received accolades for the invaluable help extended to the victims of heavy flooding in northern Mindanao.
The soldiers brought hundreds of tons of relief goods to the affected communities in support to the local government.*PNA