Return to war on Reds welcomed by AFP
MANILA, Philippines—Back to war with communist rebels.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday (April 30) welcomed the announcement by President Rodrigo Duterte of the scrapping of peace talks with the rebels, saying the negotiations were futile.
“It is indeed the apex of futility to continue the talks for peace with a terrorist group like the CPP-NPA-NDF,” said a statement by AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
He said “illegally armed members” of Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front of the Philippines “continue to oppress the needy, kill their community and tribal leaders and senselessly kill soldiers who help the poor receive vital government support.”
“Worse,” Arevalo said, rebels “rob the indigents of relief package at this time of COVID-19 crisis.”
Duterte said early this week that he will no longer resume peace talks after the NPA attacked government COVID-19 relief missions.
“There is no more peace talks to talk about. I am not and I will never be ready for any round of talks, simply because the NPA, the CPP, has no respect either for their spoken words or in their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” he said in a public address on Monday.
Arevalo said the CPP-NPA “have never been sincere in talking peace with the government.”
“It’s time to end the CPP-NPA’s more than 50 years of sowing havoc in the country and depriving the people their taste of peace and development,” he said.
The AFP spokesperson also cited recent reports from military units that communist rebels had committed at least 17 violations of their own truce.
The truce violations, Arevalo said, “only show clearly their callousness.”
He said rebels were unmoved by “the sufferings of our people” and their “desperate attempts to derail government assistance” were proof of this.
Arevalo said rebels even had the gall to accuse the Duterte administration of “inept, incompassionate and irresponsible actions in the face of the pandemic.”
Arevalo also rejected accusations that the pandemic is being used to “perpetuate martial rule.”
“The citizenry knows only too well that the AFP has been open and very supportive of all government’s efforts that seek to achieve lasting peace and promote development,” he said.
Edited by TSB
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