‘Blame rebels for failed peace talks’

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THE Philippine peace negotiating team (left) led by Hernani Braganza, Silvestre Bello III, and Jesus Dureza meet Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and National Democratic Front leaders Federico Agcaoili, Luis Jalandoni, and Jose Maria Sison (right) in Oslo, Norway in June 2016. Also in photo is Ambassador Elisabeth Slatum, Special Envoy of the Royal Norwegian Government to the Philippine Peace Process. (Courtesy of Hernani Braganza)

A FORMER AFP chief of staff now undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) blamed the communist rebels for the failure of the peace negotiations.

DILG Usec. Eduardo Año said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) pushed the government to end the talks.

Año claimed that NPA attacks against government forces continued even if President Rodrigo Duterte was very accommodating to the rebels.

Among the concessions Duterte gave to the rebels was the unilateral ceasefire he declared in his state of the nation address (SONA) in 2016.

“The President also ordered the release of 44 high ranking CPP officials, including couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon,” Año said.

The Duterte government also appointed left-leaning personalities to his Cabinet.

“They were given opportunities. The leaders from Netherlands went around the country to consult with local NPAs,” he added.

Año said the government kept its word to maintain peace amid the negotiations but in February 2017, the rebels staged surprise attacks.

“Pinagbigyan na sila but the leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDF still ordered the conduct of simultaneous attacks,” Año said.

He also scored the rebels for destroying construction equipment and plantations all over the country.

“Napuno na ang ating Presidente kasi papano ka makikipag-usap kung una, the leadership has apparently no control over the NPA on the ground,” he added.

The DILG official said Duterte only wanted one concession from the rebels – a ceasefire.

“But they can’t give it. So, we have no choice but to end the peace talks,” he added.

Aside from alleged attacks by the NPA on government troopers, the rebels also kept on criticizing the government.

“They forgot that they were given all the concessions that could be given,” he added.

Año said the CPP-NPA-NDF should listen to the ordinary people who want peace.

“They don’t want violence,” he said.

Earlier, Año said that he wants to wipe out the NPA in Panay before 2018 ends.



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