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

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

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

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Lacson pushes for localized peace talks; urges gov’t to exclude Sison from talks with Reds

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (Courtesy: pinglacson.com)

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes it is high time for the government to focus its peace talk efforts with those who do not listen to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison.

Lacson stressed that the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels differs depending on their localities and that a localized peace talks is a much better way to stop the problem with communist rebels.

The senator said, “such a move is long in coming. I have always believed that this is the better way to deal with the five-decade insurgency problem.”

Lacson made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to create a new peace panel tasked to “oversee” localized peace talks.

Lacson added that he had dealt with the NPA when he was still with the Philippine National Police which he headed from 1999 to 2001 and had been battling for localized peace talks since then up until now as a member of the Senate.

“I have been batting for localized peace talks and in fact strongly suggested the same to former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in one committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Peace and Unification chaired and presided by Senator Gregorio Honasan II,” he added.

Lacson also suggested that local government officials negotiate with guerilla leaders in areas where the NPA is not that influential, while the military focuses on areas where the NPAs are a threat.

 “So it is better that governors and mayors and other LGU officials be the ones to talk to local communist guerrillas, under the guidance and direction of a government peace panel that will provide the parameters for such localized peace talks but with enough flexibility in handling such peace initiatives,” he said.

Lacson believes that it is useless to deal with Sison, as he does not have control over the NPA.

“Experience has shown that while Sison asks for a ceasefire and government accommodates his request, NPAs continue conducting ambushes and raids. This shows Sison no longer has control over the NPA’s armed regulars,” Lacson added.

The NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, had been declared by the Philippine government, as well as the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as a terrorist organization. – Maris Federez

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Duterte mulls forming new panel to talk peace with Reds

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019


President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on April 13, 2019. (Photo: Joey Dalumpines|Presidential Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed willingness to create a new panel to talk peace with Communist rebels.

Duterte made the remark nearly a month after he abolished the previous government peace panel and terminated the appointments of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and three others as government peace negotiators.

READ: Duterte ends appointment of Bello, 3 others as gov’t peace negotiators

The President said he might tap three military representatives and two civilians to comprise the new peace panel.

“Pero makigistorya ka, magpadala ko’g laing tao, pag-istorya mo. Di na ko,” he said during a visit to Bukidnon last Saturday.

(If you want to talk to me, I’ll send someone else. You talk to each other. I don’t want to talk anymore.)

“’Di mangita ko’g bag-o. Bag-ong paagi, bag-ong tawong makig-istorya. Basig duha, o usa, o tulo ana militar. Unya ang… Mga lima. Duha ka sibilyan, tulo ka military,” he added.

(I’ll look for another way and new people to talk to. Maybe one, two, or three from the military, and… Maybe around five. Two civilians and three from the military.)

The Chief Executive also explained that he abolished the previous government peace panel since the talks with the communist rebels were not successful.

“Katong peace panel, ako nang gibuwag. Dugay na eh. Three years, wala koy nahimo,” he said.

(I abolished the peace panel too. It’s been three years but I wasn’t even able to achieve anything.)

Duterte permanently terminated the formal negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) in November 2017 following a string of attacks staged by the NPA rebels against government troops.

The President said that rebels could try to talk peace with his successor instead and the government will focus on conducting localized peace engagements. – Robie de Guzman

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AFP vows NPA’s 50th anniversary is the last

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2019

A Communist Party of the Philippines Flag | Photo courtesy of PRWC_INFO

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shrugs off this year’s 50th founding anniversary of the communist group New People’s Army (NPA).

According to AFP Spokesperson BGen. Edgard Arevalo, the leftist group has no reason to celebrate as more NPA members are returning to the government’s fold and their forces are already dwindling.

Since January 2018 to date, the government has accepted a total of 12,500 rebel returnees; 160 were killed during encounters with the military; while 320 were arrested.

“The terrorist group’s supposed 50th anniversary, we say there is nothing for them to celebrate. The AFP with other relevant agencies of government is working diligently to ensure that this anniversary will be their last,” Arevalo said.

If there is something to celebrate, the army officer said, it should be the former rebels’ decision to surrender.

Instead of merry-making, the NPA should instead observe a “national day of mourning for the more than 80,000 killed on orders of CPP-NPA leadership under Jose Maria Sison and a number of his cohorts who planned, conspired and mercilessly executed their own people,” Arevalo said.

The PNP agrees with the AFP that the NPA has no reason to rejoice as they have inflicted harm and violence to the people with all the atrocities they have caused.

The Department of National Defense (DND), for its part, has called on “all patriotic Filipinos to support the government’s efforts to rid this blight from our land. Let us show the world that the NPA and their ways of crime, violence and terror have no place in our homes, in our society, and in our country.” – Marje Pelayo (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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