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PH gov’t-MILF peace pact should serve as beacon to CPP-NPA, says AFP

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 08:23 PM March 26, 2014

FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Follow the light.

The military said on Wednesday the historic signing of the peace agreement on Thursday (Mar. 27) between the government and Moro rebels was a “beacon” for communist insurgents to return to the negotiation table.

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“The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) is an example that what the armed struggle (aims to pursue) may be done through peaceful means,” said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief.

“I hope the signing of the (peace agreement) becomes a beacon for the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to follow and make them realize that the problems of our country can be resolved peacefully,” he told a news briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.

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He said the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma Austria, believed to be the two most senior cadres of the Maoist rebels, might prompt other CPP leaders to consider resuming the peace negotiations with the government.

Despite their ideological differences, he said the military believed that most of those who joined the New People’s Army had “legitimate concerns.”

“But the solution is not to bring down the government. It’s not the solution to land reforms, poverty and injustice,” he stressed.

Zagala said the military was delighted with the formal signing of the CAB between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as part of the Aquino administration’s efforts to end the decades-old Moro separatist movement in Mindanao.

He said the AFP has thrown its full support to the “peace initiative by our government.”

“Finally, we will have peace. We’re very optimistic that this (agreement) will be very beneficial not only to Bangsamoro, but the security forces who had long fought against them,” he said.

Military troops in Central Mindanao, which covers the provinces of Maguindanao, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division had been placed on red alert as parts of precautionary measures against “spoilers”.

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On the other hand, the AFP declared blue alert on all government forces in Western and Eastern Mindanao regions.

“The red alert status is a way for the troops to alert troops against spoilers and ensure no untoward incidents will happen,” he said.

Although military intelligence units did not detect any specific threats, AFP units would remain vigilant and alerts during the signing of the CAB in Malacañang.

As for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which broke away from the MILF in protest of the peace agreement, Zagala said the military carried out offensive operations against the secessionist rebels to “remove their capability and capacity to carry out attacks.”

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TAGS: Armed conflict, Armed Forces of the Philippines, arrest, Benito Tiamzon, Communist Party of the Philippines, communist rebellion, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Insurgency, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, New People's Army, News, Peace agreement, peace negotiations, peace process, Peace Talks, Philippine Government, Ramon Zagala, rebellion, Wilma Austria
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