Government’s combat operations have been stopped since Saturday midnight but troops will stay put in their areas of operation under strict orders not to launch offensives against the New People’s Army (NPA).
This is in view of the separate previous declarations of truce by the Duterte government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as formal peace talks start Monday in Oslo, Norway, Philippine Army spokesman Colonel Benjamin Hao said.
“All combat operations have already been cancelled. Just like the last time after SONA (State of the Nation Address) announcement, we are now going back to barracks,” Hao said.
But Hao clarified, law enforcement operations against criminal groups, including the campaign against illegal drugs, will continue.
“There is no instruction for our troops to pullout. The only instruction is to stop combat operations. In effect, we are on passive defense mode to protect communities from lawless attacks,” he said.