Gov’t peace panel dismayed by NPA raids
Government peace negotiators were dismayed but not deterred by the recent New People’s Army (NPA) attacks even as the peace talks continue, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jess Dureza said on Wednesday.
Dureza said that Labor Secretary and chief government peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III and the government peace panel were preparing for the upcoming fifth round of talks from May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands.
He added that the working committees of both sides have been meeting continuously for that purpose.
“We are dismayed that although peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/NPA/National Democratic Front) are now making some substantial headway, their forces still continue to wage attacks that victimize civilians and inflict damage on the civilian sector,” Dureza said in a statement.
“Although a bilateral ceasefire is not yet in place, the public’s common reaction to these incidents questions the sincerity of those whom we talk and deal with across the table,” he said.
“The public also questions their capacity to manage and control their forces on the ground. There are even calls now to stop the talks altogether and pursue an all-out military offensive against their armed groups,” he added.
On April 29, NPA members attacked the Lapanday Foods Corporation in Davao City and a police station in Quirino, where one policeman was killed.
Despite the attacks, Dureza said that government peace negotiators would pursue the peace talks.
“Our expectation is that our unrelenting efforts in addressing the issues, bridging the ideological divide and finding a common ground may eventually pay off and bring about just, sustainable and enduring peace in the land,” Dureza said.
“No doubt, the task is not easy, taking every necessary step, but we will continue. We will not yield in our resolve. We will not be deterred,” he added.
Dureza said they were following President Duterte’s aspiration “to end this tragedy of Filipinos fighting Filipinos.”
“While he boldly deals with those who bring harm to the people, his dream is to bring peace through a just and principled settlement with all rebel groups in the land. Let us all close ranks and stay the course with him,” Dureza said.
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