National Defense chief backs termination of peace talks

The rebels’ plans to oust President Rodrigo Duterte and use the ceasefire to recover their lost grounds and influence are just two among the eight reasons why the Department of National Defense (DND) has strongly recommended the termination of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF).

This was bared by DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a statement late Sunday night.

“We found out that during the last unilateral ceasefire covering the period 2016 until January 2017, the CPP/NDF/ held the largest and the 2nd People’s Congress in October-November 2016 and the Central Committee Plenum on December 2016. During these two occasions they crafted a 3-year plan to advance the revolutionary movement that included the planning for the ‘OUST DUTERTE MOVEMENT’ if PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) will not agree to a coalition government,” he added.

Lorenzana said they also found out that in January 2017, the National Military Commission of the CPP/New People’s Army (NPA) reinforced the earlier plenum agenda.

Using the lull provided by the ceasefire, the rebels were able to consolidate, recover their lost ground/mass base and expand their influence.

The DND chief added that in May 2017, the rebels formally launched its “OUST DUTERTE” operation which was to culminate this coming October.

“Based on the foregoing deliberate actions of the CPP-NPA-NDF, it is obvious that they are not sincere to talk peace and end the armed conflict. They are employing the revolutionary dual tactics to show semblance of peace but continually conducting violence and terror acts on the ground,” he added.

Lorenzana also added the ongoing review of all peace documents and agreements revealed that it lays down the foundation of power-sharing towards a coalition government.

“In fact, the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) Panel during the Aquino Administration recommended the abrogation of the talks because the panel has come to the conclusion that ‘we were just being taken for a ride’. The GRP Panel then made serious studies and they believed the NDF Panel is not truthful, sincere and honest except to get concessions such as: release of high ranking party members and giving their armed components to recover lost grounds and mass base,” he added.

Besides this, the DND chief said that majority of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) do not want a ceasefire primarily because it means the NPAs will return to their areas.

Also, the IPs also want the CPP-NPA-NDF to publicly apologize for their act of crimes and terrorism against the ICCs/IPs for almost 50 years where around a thousand IPs were murdered by the rebels and their supporters.

Aside from this, the rebels can’t comply with the four pre-conditions set by Duterte which are a requisite for the Commander-in-Chief in going back to the negotiations.

These are no coalition government, no arson attacks and no revolutionary taxes or extortion and NPAs are to stay in a safe area of their choice and no recruitment or mass mobilization.

Lorenzana said these pre-conditions are considered by the President as a sign of sincerity and non-compliance is not an option.

“They (CPP-NPA) have been tagged as a Terrorist Organization locally and internationally. They had their chance to work for peace when President Duterte appointed four of their members to the Cabinet. But they betrayed the government when they used their positions to advance the CPP’s revolutionary movement,” the DND chief added. PNA