Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied claims made by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that alleged future military offensives against the rebels is the reason why the resumption of peace negotiations set on June 28 was cancelled.
“That is not true. The first briefing during that Command Conference was conducted by Secretary [Silvestre] Bello to update the President [Rodrigo Duterte] on the result of their back channeling with the NDF (National Democratic Front). It was in the course of this briefing and subsequent Q&A (Questions and Answers) that the President decided that he needs more time to review all past agreements between the NDF and GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the results of the recent back channeling,” Lorenzana said in a message Monday.
The CPP claimed that cancellation of the talks has the goal of allowing the military to launch bigger offensives with hopes of crippling the New People’s Army within the year.
Also, Lorenzana said the President has already decided to postpone the peace talks when the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gave its security briefing and recommendation to postpone the resumption of the talks for three months.
“Their reason was to be able to study the signed stand down agreement and how to implement it. In that briefing there was no talk of an all-out war but to continue what they have been doing in the past months, i.e., continue their normal security operations to maintain peace and order in the country. If we want an all-out war we would not only request for postponement but termination of the peace talks,” he added.
Duterte earlier cancelled the resumption of the peace talks with the CPP to allow the public to engage more in the peace process. PNA