Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) and National Democratic Front founding chair Jose Maria Sison (right)
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday (June 29) scored against Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison for his “tantrums” to lure the government to his interest.
“Mr. Sison, you know that the peace talks is the only thing that is keeping you in the limelight. Without it you are irrelevant. You also know that the President can terminate the talks, and this is why you are desperately using reverse psychology and intimidation to save it,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana told Sison that many of the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) no longer trust him citing his (Sison) lavish lifestyle in the Netherlands as compared to the miseries that the communist guerrillas are suffering in the mountains.
“They know that every time you order them to fight the government forces, you are sending them to their death while you are comfortably enjoying your safety in the Netherlands and freeloading off the Dutch Government. Dapat kang mahiya dahil inabandona mo ang iyong mga mandirigma. That’s why they are coming down in droves to live peaceful and productive lives. Sawa na sila sa panloloko mo,” Lorenzana said.
Members of the New People’s Army
The Defense Secretary made the statement after a remark from Sison saying that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) could no longer negotiate peace under the Duterte administration.
He dismissed Sison’s statements, saying the government would pursue localized peace talks instead.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde reminded ground commanders to harden their measures especially in vital installations across the country following the recent rift between the government and the communist leadership.
“Target hardening measures palaging nandiyan. Camp security plan nila, laging nandiyan. Conduct simulation exercises palagi na lang iyon, always reiteration ng ating POP,” Albayalde said.
(Target hardening measures are always there. Camp security plans are always there. Conduct simulation exercises are carried out regularly, always a reiteration of our POP.)
The PNP Chief suggests that the communist group show sincerity in negotiating peace with the government in order to end the decades-long communist insurgency in the country.
“Sabi ko nga ang importante sa peace negotiation ay sincerity. Dapat sincere at serious tayo which is what our government is showing. Kaya nga in every province pwede silang magsurrender sa mga probinsiya. Ang daming mga nagsu-surender na mga kapatid natin na rebelde na hindi na nila hinihintay pa whether magpush through ang negotiations,” the PNP Chief explained.
(As I have said, sincerity is important in a peace negotiation. We must be sincere and serious, which is what our government is showing. That’s why in every province there are surrendering rebels. Many of our rebel brothers are surrendering in large numbers. They are not waiting anymore on whether negotiations will push through.) – Marje Pelayo
The rebel returnees surrendered their firearms for which they were given livelihood assistance.