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Time to rethink your position, PNP chief tells communist ‘friends’

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:59:00 05/18/2011

Filed Under: Police, insurgency, RP peace process, Peace and Order, Politics

MANILA, Philippines?Taking a more conciliatory tone, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has asked ?our friends in the communist movement? to rethink their position and consider laying down their arms following a series of costly skirmishes for the communist New People?s Army (NPA).

?Perhaps this is the time for our friends in the communist movement to take a second look at their position,? PNP chief Director General Raul M. Bacalzo said in a speech before Cagayan Valley troops on Monday.

?Maybe it?s time to think that we can?t forever be killing each other. Both sides get wounded or killed. Even we (the police) get wounded or killed also,? he said.

?Perhaps this is the opportunity to rethink their position and return to the mainstream and continue the peace. This will eventually lead to the development of the nation,? Bacalzo said.

Virtually paralyzed

The PNP chief said the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been virtually paralyzed in Cagayan Valley following the killing of five NPA members, including a local leader, and the arrest of four others last week.

?Definitely, the NPA has been crippled? after its clash with police commandos along the boundaries of Barangay Lakambini, Tuao, and Sitio Talinganay of Barangay Sto. Domingo in Piat, Cagayan, Bacalzo said.

Among those killed was local communist guerrilla leader Jose Asco, alias Baylon, who has been tagged as a primary suspect in the ambush killing of a police official in Cagayan province early this year.

Bacalzo?s visit was intended to boost troops? morale after two police members were wounded during the encounter in Tuao on May 12.

Since January, the NPA has apparently been stepping up its activities in the province, Bacalzo said.

?But I?m not saying this is panic time. This is not. The situation is very manageable. Perhaps we are seeing this because of ongoing exploratory peace talks with the CPP/NPA and NDF (National Democratic Front),? he said.

Bacalzo noted that there is always a resurgence of NPA activities during exploratory talks or whenever there was a development in the peace process.

?As I always say, we at the PNP must be prepared at all times. There should really be vigilance every time. We can see that in the actions of our police force,? he said.

The government resumed peace talks with the communist rebels in February after a seven-year lull and both sides said after the first round of negotiations they believed a peace pact could be signed by June 2012.

Bacalzo said the PNP was spending for the hospitalization of the four captured NPA rebels, three of them in Tuguegarao, and one in Lianga.

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