AFP on Duterte’s move to scrap talks with Reds: ‘It’s the right thing’
Robie de Guzman • March 22, 2019 • 3218
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.
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
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is calling for an inquiry into the killing of four soldiers by local policemen in Jolo, Sulu.
“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Monday afternoon, June 29, four members of the Philippine Army were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.
The Army said the four soldiers were on an official mission and were tracking suspected suicide bombers when they were accosted by the local police.
The soldiers, who had been wearing plain clothes, were said to have introduced themselves to the policemen. The cops allegedly told them to go with them to a nearby police station for identity verification.
Initial police report said that as their team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ vehicle allegedly sped off, prompting a car chase.
Police said they only defended themselves when the soldiers opened fire.
The Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers based on eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the soldiers’ vehicle.
Pangilinan said the police and military have different versions of what happened, and an “independent and impartial” Senate probe will “help bring out the truth.”
“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan called on military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”
“We should be going after the common enemy — terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID — not against each other,” Pangilinan said.
The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.
The nine policemen involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have also been ordered relieved from their posts pending investigation.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday said that the recent joint police and military operation in Parañaque City, which led to the killing of suspected Abu Sayyaf members, highlights the need for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “the presence of these terrorists in the NCR highlights the need for us to enhance our measures against those who intend to bring harm to our people.”
“A law such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill of 2020 will give our law enforcers greater capacity to stop these terrorists and prevent them from wreaking havoc in our communities,” he added.
Lorenzana also commended the police and the military for the “successful” law enforcement.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, said the incident calls for an urgent decision of the President.
“This development all the more highlights the need for the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the signing and immediate implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Bill,” AFP chief-of-staff General Felimon Santos, Jr. said in a statement.
He said terrorism really poses great threat to public security and places general welfare at stake.
“We should protect and defend from terrorists— without further delay than it had already been —fellow Filipinos from wanton death or destruction of their property,” he said.
Santos also said that the recent operation against the alleged members of Abu Sayyaf group only shows that a pandemic could not deter terror groups from committing lawless acts.
“The unwanted presence of terrorist ASG members in Metro Manila and their timely neutralization in Parañaque proves that terrorist groups know no pandemic or people’s suffering in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world,” he said.
“Not even COVID-19 could deter or prevent the terrorists ASG and their cohorts from planning and looking for the opportune time to strike and kill or maim innocent civilians and to destroy massively government infrastructure and private property,” he added.
The Philippine National Police earlier reported that four suspected ASG members were killed in an operation jointly conducted by police and military forces in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City on past Friday midnight.
The government security forces were about to serve a search warrant issued by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 when they were engaged by the suspects in a firefight.
The clash eventually resulted in the killing of the suspects, identified as Bensaudi Sali alias “Boy,” his wife Merhama Abdul Sawari alias “Mheng,” Rasin Hussin alias “Boscon,” and Jamal Kalliming alias “Pando.”
The police and military said the operation stemmed from an information they received about the presence of the group tagged as members of Daulah Islamiyah and acting as a financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia, in Parañaque City.
Authorities recovered from the encounter site various handguns, wires, suspected explosive devices, and ISIS flags.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.