Reds: No objection to ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ brains as PH peace panel head
LUCENA CITY – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will not object should President Aquino appoint the chief architect of the government’s anti-insurgency master plan as head of its peace negotiating panel.
CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had been informed since last month of the possible appointment of retired-Armed Forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista as the government’s lead negotiator in renewed peace talks.
Bautista is credited as the brains behind the Internal Peace and Security Plan, better known as “Oplan Bayanihan,” aimed at ending the 46-year rebellion of the New People’s Army (NPA) before the end of Aquino’s term in 2016.
The on-again, off-again talks are expected to resume next month.
“We have offered no objection because he has already retired from the military service,” Sison, also the NDFP chief political consultant, said in an online interview from his base in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Sunday morning.
The NDFP is the political arm of the CPP that has been engaged in peace negotiations with the government for the past 27 years.
Former government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla has gone on to head Philhealth after exploratory talks on the resumption of the talks collapsed last year following both parties failure to agree on issues over the release of detained rebels and a long ceasefire.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has reportedly recommended to the President the appointment of Bautista as the government’s chief peace negotiator with the NDFP.
Bautista’s Oplan Bayanihan involves the participation of all stakeholders with greater emphasis on the non-combat dimension to end the communist rebellion.
However, Karapatan, a militant group of human rights advocates, claimed that Oplan Bayanihan was behind the killings of political activists and massive human rights violations.
In August, Bautista was appointed executive director of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace with the rank of undersecretary. Hewas AFP chief of staff from January 2013 until his retirement in June.
In an interview with Sison in March, he said he preferred people like 1-Bap partylist Rep. Silvestre H. Bello III and the late Tarlac Rep. Jose Yap as head of the government panel.
Sison said Bello and Yap were both committed to the government side but knew how to respond to the demands of the revolutionary movement.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.