Año on NDF demand to remove terror tag: Not until we have peace settlement
MANILA, Philippines — The demand of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to remove the terrorist designation of the group and its leaders could not be granted yet despite its tentative agreement with the government to seek a peaceful resolution to the communist armed conflict.
National Security Adviser Eduardo Año on Wednesday said there needs to be a final peace settlement for that to be granted, along with other requests of the NDFP.
“Madali na lahat yan, yung pagtanggal ng designation, pero kapag wala pa tayong final peace settlement mahirap naman yang mga ganyan,” Año told reporters in a phone interview.
(The removal of terrorist designation would be easy if we already have the final peace settlement, but it’s hard until we do not have that.)
“Ang stand din naman natin willing na sila to abandon the armed struggle, so kung ganun yung mindset nila at sincere sila, the negotiation will come into place,” he added.
(Our stand is they are already willing to abandon armed struggle, and if that’s their mindset and they are sincere, the negotiation will come into place.)
NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni was declared a terrorist in 2022 by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).
This declaration allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate and freeze assets and property of the individuals on the ATC list.
Aside from the removal of the terror tag, the NDFP also called for the release of their consultants.
To this call, Año said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity has the final say, but he said that there are other ways that could be considered.
“May mga paraan naman dyan e, iko-consult mo yung mga kanilang consultants na hindi naman kailangang i-release,” Año said.
(There are ways how to do it. We can consult their consultants even if we don’t release them.)
Communist Party of the Philippines spokesperson Marco Valbuena on Tuesday said the removal of NDFP’s terror tag and release of its peace consultants “are critical and practical measures, without which, it is doubtful that peace negotiations can even proceed.”