Sans negotiations with Reds, attaining peace gaining ground, Palace says
Malacanang said on Tuesday even if President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks with the communist rebels, the administration's effort to attain peace has been gaining ground, with the surrender of the members of the New People's Army.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following the filing of a House resolution by some 60 congressmen, urging Duterte to continue with the negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-NPA and complete the comprehensive agreements on social, economic, and political reforms.
"We thank those who signed the resolution for their support to the peace agenda of the administration," he said.
He noted that from the start of the Duterte administration, the president has been committed to peace.
"However, we find it unfortunate that the communists have become spoilers of peace because of their penchant for double talk and treachery. Their motives are not for attaining sustainable peace but rather to push for their greater control and influence," he said.
Roque reiterated there must be an enabling environment for the peace talks to resume.
The leftist rebels should cease their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces; end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings; lay down their arms and return to the fold of law and restart to live normal lives, he said.
"Even without the peace talks, the government's efforts at forging peace with communist rebels have been gaining ground, as evidenced by the surrender of NPA fighters. Rest assured that the government will exhaust any and all means to achieve lasting peace towards unity and progress," Roque stressed.
According to House Resolution No. 1803, "Continuing the peace talks would benefit the Filipino people most of whom are poor peasants and workers, as the agreements on agrarian reform and national industrialization may address their issues and concerns and help provide relief for their economic hardships."
Duterte decided to terminate the peace talks with the NDF in November last year due to violence that the NPA, the armed front of the CPP-NDF, continued to commit against government troops and the civilians.
Last December, he also issued a proclamation tagging the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations. Celerina Monte/DMS