From Various Agencies
The threat of eruption of Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon and its possible challenges to the surrounding populace has one immediate positive effect, if we can qualify it as one.
The provincial unit of the rebel movement in the province has made known their declaration of a unilateral suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) in areas near the volcano.
The SOMO means suspension of all NPA tactical offensive movements against the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) within areas it covers.
A press statement was distributed to the media from the spokesman of Celso Minguez command by Samuel Guerrero Wednesday last Week. It said the local unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating around the area declared the unilateral ceasefire.
The ceasefire will give the government an unhampered movement on relief and rescue operations for affected civilians during the prevailing emergency situation.
“Utmost concern is being given by the Celso Minguez Command on the preservation of lives and properties of residents around the volcano,” Guerrero said in a statement prepared in Tagalog.
Guerrero, however, warned government forces from conducting espionage and gathering of intelligence information from the guerilla zone within the SOMO area. Doing so would be considered hostile acts that call for a defensive action from the NPA, Guerrero warned.
“Our general policy of active defense is not suspended along with the SOMO,” he added.
Guerrero elaborated that the SOMO will be observed throughout the duration of the abnormal activities of the volcano or up unti the official government agency Phivolcs lifts the alert staus on areas identified as prone to the effects of its eruption.
It must be recalled that on the 21st of November Bulusan volcano erupted a mostly gray volcanic ash that reached up to two kilometers above its summit. The ashfall immediately affected seventeen villages in the towns of Bulan, Magallanes and Irosin. Said areas are within the 20-km radius of the restive volcano.
Local units of the PNP, along with soldiers of the 4th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) have been pre-occupied attending to the government’s rescue operations and evacuation and relief of the affected populace.