Show sincerity in the peace process, Lorenzana urges Communists
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to show their sincerity in the peace process amid the series of attacks and violences by their armed wing in different part of the country.
We at the Department of National Defense share in the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte of building a nation worthy of Filipinos and Filipinos worthy of a nation. The path to real, lasting peace is indeed not without its struggles, thus it is important that we stay committed to this goal, and to let our actions reflect our intentions, Lorenzana said in a statement issued Saturday.
We stand by the Presidents decision to resume the peace process but we likewise should call on the Communists to show their commitment both in words and in deeds, Lorenzana added.
Lorenzana called on the people not to give up to the extortion activities of the rebels.
Let us resist their extortions because giving in will make them strong and perpetuate their criminal acts, he said.
Lorenzana made the statement on the eve of the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the CPP.
In his statement, Lorenzana emphasized the series of attacks by the armed wing of the CPP.
In the past weeks, the Communist terrorists who call themselves the New People's Army went on a rampage, burning equipment and properties of companies who refuse to succumb to their extortions, he said.
They do these to companies who build roads, export produce, transport people--activities that help generate employment and wealth for Filipinos. They have also attacked and ambushed military and police personnel who were doing their constitutional duties and killed military personnel on home leaves, he added.
They did these nefarious acts after they have asked for the resumption of peace talks and after they have announced that they will go on a unilateral ceasefire, Lorenzana said.
They are anti-development, anti-progress and anti-poor. I, therefore, call upon all peace-loving Filipinos to resist these thugs, these terrorists who have brought nothing but misery to the Filipino people in the past 48 years, the defense secretary stated.
Last week, the military said 26 NPAs were killed while 21 were arrested and 88 surrendered since the government lifted its ceasefire on February 4.. The military said 16 soldiers were killed and four wounded.
In another statement, Ernesto Abella, Presidential Spokesman said to Undersecretary Nabil Tan of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the government panel to reiterate the terms for a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the communist group.
These includes the stopping collection of the revolutionary tax and conduct of extortion and extraction as well as arson by the NPA..
He said the rebel group should release all their prisoners and there should be a clear parameter or terms of reference for the ceasefire. Five soldiers are being held by the NPA, the military said last week.
The panel should also stress that the government shall not recognize any territorial claims of the CPP-NPA-NDF. Robina Asido/DMS