AFP on Duterte’s move to scrap talks with Reds: ‘It’s the right thing’

Robie de Guzman   •   March 22, 2019   •   3634

File photo: Members of the New People’s Army

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday (March 22) that cancelling the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was the right move.

“Dapat lang. 31 years of deceptive ploys using peace talks, across five administrations, only resulted to more terrorist NPAs being released, an opportunity for the CTG (communist terrorist groups) to recruit and recover lost areas of influence, publicity for Joma [Sison] in the international arena as a ‘dove,’” AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. said in a message sent to media on Friday.

Parlade added that the decades-long peace process “wasted government funds spent for negotiations and junkets, opportunity losses for investments and development because of prolonged and intermittent fighting.”

“They had their best chance when peace was offered again to them by PRRD [President Rodrigo R. Duterte], offering Cabinet posts in good faith for them to help in good governance but they blew it by attacking projects, killing society forces, and even innocent civilians,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday permanently ended the peace negotiations and told the communist rebels to just talk to the next administration.

Malacañang followed this up with an announcement that a new panel will be created to pursue localized peace talks with communist members on the ground in line with the government’s new whole-of-nation approach to end the 50-year armed struggle.

READ: Gov’t to create new panel for localized peace talks

But for CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, there is nothing new in Duterte’s latest move to scrap the peace talks with the Reds, likening him to “an old broken record.”

“As far as the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” Sison said in a statement released Thursday evening (March 21).

The communist leader added that Duterte was just “merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations under his regime.”

He also claimed that the President only wants to implement fake localized peace process controlled by the military, instead of negotiating with the CPP national leaders.

“Instead of peace negotiations at the national level by the duly-authorized panels of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP, what Duterte wants is fake localized peace negotiations staged and controlled by the military and military-occupied Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Negotiations,” he said.

But according to AFP, Sison was just trying to muddle the issue to conceal his panic over Duterte’s decision.

AFP Spokesperson Marine BGen Edgard Arevalo said in a statement that Sison is well aware that local peace engagement has been immensely successful.

“Mr. Sison has the temerity to call President Duterte ‘stupid’ for thinking that government will be successful in attaining peace by engaging NPA (New People’s Army) Commanders and fighters on the ground instead of the CPP-NPA’s national leadership,” Arevalo said.

“Mr. Sison consistently calls localized peace talks as a “waste of people’s money”, “cheap trick”, “absurd and stupid”, and by other deriding terms. He moves heaven and earth to prevent it because it will further relegate him to history’s dustbin,” he added.

The AFP official said that since January 2018, more than 11,000 NPA fighters and sympathizers have returned to the government’s fold after realizing that they have been deceived.

“But enough is enough. 50 years of duplicity, deceit, and murder of thousands of his comrades on mere suspicion of being military informants or have expressed desire to go back to mainstream society must stop,” Arevalo said.

He also called on anew to communist rebels to come out of hiding and take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs being offered by the current government.

“They should follow the lead of their comrades who stopped being menace to society and are now experiencing a life free from hunger, fear, and uncalled for perils fighting government. They should take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs,” Arevalo said. –— Robie de Guzman

AFP, PNP: No terror threat in PH despite Japan warning

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Police and military authorities on Tuesday said they have not monitored any possible terrorist threat in the country despite the warning reportedly issued by the Japanese government.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said they have not received any report of possible terror attacks but assured that they continue to be on alert  regarding this matter.

They are also working closely with their foreign counterparts on information sharing against terrorism.

“Noon pa man ay patuloy ang aming intelligence monitoring especially after the 9/11 attack in the US and the Marawi City incident. Nananatiling maigting ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa ibat ibang bansa laban sa terorismo through information sharing and strategic partnership in dealing with terror groups” Eleazar said.

“Kasama dito ang pagpapalakas ng ugnayan ng inyong kapulisan sa ibat ibang komunidad at stake holders upang matiyak na hindi tayo malulusutan sa ano mang plano ng mga teroristang grupo sa ano mang lugar sa ating bansa,” he added.

Foreign media reports stated that the Foreign Ministry of Japan has issued a warning for its citizens regarding a possible terror attack in six Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines.

The Japanese ministry advised its citizens to avoid religious facilities and crowded areas in the said countries.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for its part, said the country’s threat level remains at “moderate” based on its last review.

The military assured it is constantly validating reports relating to national security matters.

“As of now, we have not received any report. We constantly validate all reports on security matters and it is a continuous process,” AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement.

Aside from the Philippines, the warning issued by the Japanese government also covers Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia.

12yo NPA ‘child warrior’, 8 others captured in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported the arrest of nine New People’s Army (NPA) members including a 12 year-old “child warrior” at a forested area in Barangay Mabuhay, San Fernando, Bukidnon on Thursday (September 9).

The arrest followed an encounter with troops of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division and members of the CPP-NPA terrorists which also resulted in the killing of four NPA rebels and the seizure of 16 high-powered firearms.

Prior to the encounter, the military received information from residents that a group of NPA rebels had been conducting recruitment and extortion activities in their community.

The elements of 88 Infantry Battalion under the operational control of the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division immediately conducted strike operations to protect the populace in the said area.

Major General Romeo Brawner Jr., Commander of the 4ID, disclosed that the one-hour running gun battle which ensued around 8:00 a.m. Thursday,  initially resulted in the seizure of three AK47 Rifles, four M16 Rifles and one M203 grenade launcher, the killing of four unidentified NPAs, and capture of two others.

The military chased the terrorists after the initial firefight.

Brawner said the troop’s persistence during pursuit operation resulted in the subsequent capture of another seven NPAs including the 12-year-old child.

Another set of high-powered firearms composed of two AK47 rifles, three M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, and two M653 rifles were seized.

Brawner confirmed that the pursuit operations are still ongoing.

 

Black hawk chopper crash in Tarlac caused by thunderstorm, pilot’s vertigo – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The fatal crash of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter during a night flight training in Tarlac in June was caused by a confluence of events, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Thursday.

Citing the result of the investigation conducted by the Philippine Air Force Accident Investigation Board, the AFP said the helicopter entered a thurderstorm that may have caused the possible disorientation of the pilot.

“Investigators found out that the chopper inadvertently entered a thunderstorm and was compounded by spatial disorientation or vertigo by the pilot, as the cause of the accident,” the military said.

The chopper crash, which occurred on June 24, killed six people, namely:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Rexzon Pasco (instructor pilot)
  • Major Eraño Belen (student pilot)
  • Major Jayrold Constantino (student pilot)
  • Master Sergeant Ronnie Reducto (instructor scanner)
  • Sergeant Leonardo Tandingan (student scanner)
  • Sergeant Maricar Laygo (student scanner)

The AFP said the results of the investigation will help the military avoid similar incidents in the future by implementing additional safety protocols and instituting training interventions for personnel.

“The goal of the investigation, based on international practice on handling crashed aircraft, was to determine the cause of the accident rather than apportion blame,” it added.

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