MANILA – The government is dedicated to sustaining President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision of long-lasting peace and development in the country.On Saturday, the President reiterated that commitment during the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Marawi from the Islamic State-linked… Read More
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he remains optimistic that his administration would be able to achieve a lasting peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) at a “much earlier” time.
Duterte made the statement, as he noticed that many members of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), are surrendering and seeking reintegration into the society.
“With the rate that the NPAs are surrendering, mukhang I think we’d be able to realize peace much earlier,” the President said during the mass oath-taking of new presidential appointees held at Palace’s Rizal Hall.
To recall, Duterte on Jan. 23 led the distribution of government assistance packages to at least 263 former communist insurgents in San Isidro, Leyte.
Duterte, in his previous speech, hinted that he might give in to the demands of the communist movement in a bid to realize long-lasting peace in the country.
The President, however, did not elaborate on the communists’ specific favors for the possible revival of peace negotiations between the national government and the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“The most important thing is to come up and comply with the promise to the rebels,” he said.
“Kaya sabi ko doon sa mga sundalo, bitawan na lang niyo. Umalis na lang kayo diyan. Ibigay na lang ninyo sa mga NPA. Lagyan na lang natin ng… Ah ayaw kong sabihin kasi may gusto akong ilagay (That’s why I told the soldiers, just let go. Leave the place and just give it to the NPA. We’ll just place a… I don’t want to mention it but I want to place something there),” Duterte added.
On Nov. 23, 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation 360 to formally scrap the peace negotiations with the NDF due to the series of attacks waged by the NPA rebels against the government forces and civilians.
The termination of peace talks was followed by the Dec. 5, 2017 signing of Proclamation 374, branding the CPP-NPA as terror group because of the crimes they allegedly committed “against the Filipino people, against humanity, and the law of the nations.”
Apart from the Philippines, the CPP-NPA has also been tagged as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
The peace talks between the national government and the NDF have been intermittent since 1986.
But in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN on Jan. 10, Duterte said his government is ready for the possible resumption of talks with the communist party.
Duterte, during the television interview, announced that he had already formed a new government peace panel that would hold negotiations with NDF consultants for the crafting of a binding peace pact between the two parties.
The new state peace negotiators would replace the members of the national government’s now-defunct negotiating peace panel led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello. (PNA)
Lauding the significant gains of the National Task Force to End Local Communist (lNTF ELCAC), the newly-installed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is confident that the multi-pronged approach of Executive Order 70 will put an end to the treacherous life cycle of the more than five decades of insurgency.
Speaking during the AFP Change of Command ceremony on Jan. 4, Lt. General Felimon Santos, said unlike in the past when local chief executives left the insurgency problem solely to the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deal with, EO involves all government agencies from the national to the barangay level with delineated roles and responsibilities in the whole-of-nation approach.
“Government agencies and their corresponding units at all levels cooperate, interact, support, provide practical solutions and solve problems and issues on the ground that are being exploited by these communist terrorists in order to stir-up our countrymen to fight against our government through armed struggle,” Santos said.
He added that EO 70, which was signed by President R. Duterte in December 2018, created NTF ELCAC that institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace-giving us an effective solution against communist-terrorists.
“This multi-pronged approach addresses the motivation for insurgency and will hopefully put an end to its treacherous life cycle,” he said, adding that by doing so, there will be no reason for the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front to agitate, organize and mobilize the vulnerable sectors and communities.
Santos, who headed the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, said he witnessed what EO provides for as it is being actually done in the provinces of Davao Oriental by Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Davao de Oro by Governor Tyron Uy, Davao del Norte by Governor Edwin Jubahib, and Davao City by Mayor Sara Duterte.
“Good governance practices and the efficient delivery of basic services for their constituents create resilient communities that thwart the return of the communist terrorist groups in their respective provinces and city,” he added.
The AFP, he said, can now focus its resources, manpower, and firepower on the remaining communists who persist with armed struggle despite the government’s goodwill through cash assistance, livelihood training, and housing.
Santos, who is the 53rd AFP Chief of Staff taking the top military post from retired General Noel Clement, vowed to immediately neutralize groups that insist on seizing political power through armed struggle and other local terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf.
“We shall effectively counter their narratives through good governance, build community trust and earn the people’s respect, he said.
He added that vigilance, support, and cooperation in the local populace are needed in order to suppress and prevent any future terroristic plans from occurring and avoiding the unnecessary loss of human lives and damage to property.
“The AFP should always be battle-ready to counteract any threat that confronts our desire for peace,” he said, adding that the AFP remains committed to supporting and working towards a successful implementation of the agreements for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front. (PNA)
The government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will be finalizing next month the creation of a peace coordinating committee to help resolve conflict in Mindanao.
PRRD MEETS NUR. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives a warm welcome to Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari at the Malacañan Palace Monday (Nov. 11, 2019). Also in photo are (from right) Solicitor General Jose Calida, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara, and Senator Bong Go. (Presidential photo of King Rodriguez)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this plan was discussed during the meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari in Malacañang on Monday night.
Panelo said Duterte and Misuari have agreed to meet in Davao City next month to finalize the peace coordinating committee.
To recall, Duterte and Misuari have met five times this year with their most recent meeting held last August 23 tackling ways to advance the peace process in the south.
“It was a continuation of the meeting when Chairman Nur Misuari came I think last August. Ang usapan nila mag-mi-meet ulit sila (The agreement is they will meet again) because there’s a suggestion that there should be a committee that will help in the peace process,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.
“The purpose of course is to have peace with the MNLF and to ensure the success of the government,” he added.
Earlier, Panelo said it was during their August 23 meeting where Duterte relayed his desire for immediate formation of GPH-MNLF panel to Misuari.
“The GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee will serve as a venue to seek for the cooperation of the MNLF to achieve immediate peace in Sulu by, among others, helping in combatting the Abu Sayyaf Group and convincing MNLF relatives to return to the folds of the law,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said Misuari was hopeful that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would be involved in the consultations to determine the remaining compliance of the GPH in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF.
Misuari wanted a similar setup to the previous tripartite talks among the GPH, MNLF, and the OIC, he added.
Last March, the President bared that he is “in a hurry” to strike a deal with Misuari to finally end the long-drawn Moro rebellion and achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.
Duterte said that just like how government has “come to terms” with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he wanted to do the same with Misuari. (PNA)
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