By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reiterated that he should not be blamed for the reported cancellation of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as claimed by an activist fisherfolks group.
In a statement, Lorenzana said he is flattered by Pamalakaya’s (National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organization in the Philippines) assertion that he was to blame for the suspension of the fifth round of talks between the GPH and the NDFP.
Pamalakaya is an alliance of activist fisherfolk groups in the country with over 100,000 individual members and 43 provincial chapters. It was formalized as a federation on December 7, 1987 where it held its first national congress.
“The truth is that my participation in government decision-making is purely recommendatory,” Lorenzana said.
“It is the President who makes the final decision. The suspension of the peace negotiation was his decision based not only on my input but the whole government bureaucracy,” he added.
Lorenzana reiterated that Pamalakaya’s own narrow-mindedness has obscured the fact that the government’s withdrawal from the talks was due to the NPA’s order to intensify attacks against the government forces after the Martial Law was declared in Mindanao.
“To blame someone else is the height of naiveté. Pamalakaya likewise accuses me of gross ignorance for not knowing the dynamics of the peace talks “that cessation of hostilities is not a precondition”, ” Lorenzana said.
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