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NPA to carry out rescue, relief and rehab after ‘Ompong’

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced Saturday, September 15, that New People’s Army (NPA) units are ready to conduct humanitarian activities for victims of Typhoon “Ompong”.

“The NPA and all revolutionary forces in North and Central Luzon, as well as in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, are geared to carry out rescue, relief and rehabilitation work for millions of people whose homes and livelihood were ravaged by strong winds and rains brought about by typhoon Ompong,” the CPP said in a statement.

The CPP said that while remaining vigilant over “relentless” offensive operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, local NPA commands shall primarily concentrate in civic action amid the disaster in the next few days.

The CPP announcement was issued even as tropical cyclone “Ompong” (International name: Mangkhut) is still barrelling across extreme northern Luzon, packing sustained winds of around 205 kilometers per hours (kph) and gusts of up to 285 kph.

“Ompong” made landfall at 1:40 am at the rice-producing town of Baggao in Cagayan Province and moved west-northwest at a speed of 25 kph after hitting the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Billions of pesos in damages to crops are expected as rice and corn, both major crops  in Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Abra and Ilocos Sur, have yet to be harvested before “Ompong” ravaged the area.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has yet to announce any casualty from the typhoon.

As of 1 pm Saturday, the typhoon has weakened and its center was located off the coast of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

The typhoon’s path closely followed the trajectory of Supertyphoon “Lawin” which hit the same area in late 2016, killing eight victims and causing an estimated P60 billion in damages to crops and properties.

Typhoon Ompong’s aftermath in Cabagan, Isabela.

Extending all help

In light of the widespread destruction, the CPP urged the Filipino people and international humanitarian agencies “to unite and extend all possible help to address the welfare of the people. “

“[The CPP] urges all democratic sectors to establish Serve the People brigades to help collect and distribute relief assistance. The broad masses of workers, peasants, minority people, fisherfolk and other basic sectors suffer the most from the damage wrought by typhoon Ompong,” the CPP said.

The revolutionary group added there is urgent need to mobilize peoples and groups to facilitate the entry and equitable distribution of all financial and material assistance.

The CPP warned that rampant corruption and inefficiencies by the government may hijack relief operations, as when Supertyphoons Pablo, Sendong, Yolanda and Lawin devastated large parts of the country in recent years.

The group also urged the Rodrigo Duterte government to implement wage increases, land distribution, cancellation of debt, agricultural subsidies, free irrigation and livelihood assistance and economic relief to help the victims. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte’s latest announcement of talks termination ‘nonnews’–Joma

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison dismissed government’s latest declaration terminating the peace talks, saying President Rodrigo Duterte has already done so last year.

“It is a nonnews,” Sison said when asked to react to Duterte’s speech Tuesday saying peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP are terminated.

“This is not the first time that Duterte terminates the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Duterte terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360, and then he followed it up with Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and NPA as ‘terrorist’ organizations with the malicious intent of making it doubly sure that he had killed the peace negotiations,” Sison told Kodao.

In his speech launching the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance in Malacañan Tuesday, Duterte said has terminated the talks with the Reds, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Sison, accusing them of only wanting a coalition with his government.

“We summed it all and it would really appear that it was a coalition government [they wanted] and I said, ‘I cannot give you an inch of that even. I cannot give you what is not mine,’” Duterte said.

The NDFP and the CPP has, however, repeatedly denied asking to form a coalition government with the GRP.

Sison added that it was Duterte who is being insincere in pursuing genuine peace with the NDFP and is in fact “hell-bent on establishing a fascist dictatorship, with him monopolizing political power and plunder.”

“He was in fact demanding all along the surrender and political suicide of the revolutionary movement of the people before any comprehensive agreement on social, economic and political reforms,” Sison said.

Sison said Duterte will go down in history as a mass murderer and terminator of the peace negotiations who is only succeeding in becoming the chief recruiter of the New People’s Army (NPA) by oppressing the people and goading them to join the NPA.

“He has also become the chief transport and supply officer of the NPA by sending his troops and police to the hinterlands for ambush by the NPA,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NPA: 11 gov’t soldiers dead in Masbate ambush

The Jose Rapsing Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) claimed 11 government soldiers were killed in the ambush it conducted Friday, August 3, at Sitio Manga, Barangay Mactan, Cawayan town in Masbate Province.

In a statement, Luz del Mar, spokesperson of the rebel army command, confirmed an earlier Philippine National Police report that three were killed on the spot but said eight more died at a hospital in Masbate City.

Three more state troopers were injured, she said, adding NPA guerrillas recovered two assault rifles and ammunition as well as documents containing valuable information from the combined Philippine Army (PA) and Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) troopers.

“The fire fight lasted for 20 minutes and ended when the surviving government soldiers fled, leaving behind their dead and injured comrades,” del Mar said in Filipino.

Last Friday, the Masbate Provincial Police Office reported that soldiers of the Philippine Army detachment based in Barangay Del Carmen in Uson town were conducting combat patrol operations when they encountered NPA fighters in the area.

Del Mar said that their successful ambush was in defense of civilians who suffer human rights violations by soldiers of the PA’s 2nd Infantry Division and the 22nd CAFGU Battalion operating in the area.

She cited the case of of the four motorcycle drivers massacred on August 3, 2015 as among the atrocities allegedly committed by government soldiers in the area.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

Esperon’s claim on Joma’s health ‘fake news’–NDFP

The chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines slammed the government’s national security adviser for spreading lies against Prof. Jose Ma. Sison’s heath, saying Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is an active purveyor of fake news.

NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili in a statement said that contrary to the security adviser’s claim that Sison is seriously ill, the group’s chief political consultant is “very well and has fully recovered from his arthritis last year.”

“Look at his face, isn’t he sick? That is expected, but let me not go into details. But he is really ill,” Esperon told reporters in Quezon City Friday, the Philippine Star reported.

Contrary to Esperon’s claim, however, Agcaoili said Sison is up and about, conducting interviews with journalists and many others.

“His mind remains as sharp as ever and his analysis of political situations as incisive, brilliant and comprehensive as before,” Agcaoili said.

Seventy nine year-old Sison had been hospitalized several times since late 2016 due to several health complaints his comrades attributed to advancing age but has been very active lately, granting interviews and issuing statements to both Philippine-based and international journalists.

Lying Esperon

On the other hand, Agcaoili added, Esperon remains a “pathological liar” just as when he dismissed the many cases of extrajudicial killings of activists in 2006 as the doings of “internal purges” in the revolutionary movement.

“His allegation was dismissed by Prof. Philip Alston, then UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, as ‘especially unconvincing’ and the document presented as bearing ‘all the hallmarks of a fabrication and cannot be taken as evidence of anything other than disinformation,’” Agcaoili said.

Alston at the time concluded that “there is no reasonable doubt that the military is responsible for a significant number of the killings and that subsequent evidence points to the continuing nature of that practice.”

Esperon was Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff in 2006.

Agcaoili added that Esperon also lied when he implied that the Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph E. Estrada governments have conspired with the NDFP in attempting to topple the Manila government by signing The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

“Such nonsense!” Agcaoli said.

On the so-called localized peace talks being pushed by the Rodrigo Duterte government, Agcaoili suggested that Esperon read the statements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army, as well as the NDFP territorial units and regional commands rejecting the scheme.

Agcaoili said that Esperon must first know the positions of revolutionary forces on the ground “before he embarks on this road show meant only to line the pockets of bureaucrats, military commanders and faked surrenderers.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CPP says no to ‘pretend talks’ with LGUs

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed Malacañan’s announcement of an executive order for localized peace negotiations, calling the scheme “pretend talks.”

After local National Democratic Front formations have rejected peace negotiations with local government officials, the CPP itself strongly spurned the offer, saying President Duterte will only use these to “pretend to want peace while actually waging total war against the people.”

Malacañang yesterday announced it will soon issue an executive order to pursue “localized peace talks” istead of formal negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) abroad.

“So-called localized peace talks are a sham, a waste of people’s money, and are doomed to fail. It is a worn-out psywar tactic to project victory to conceal the continuing failure of the AFP to suppress the people’s resistance and stem the steady growth of the NPA (New People’s Army),” the CPP said.

“The civil war will continue to rage despite local peace talks,” the group added.

Earlier, NDF-Panay and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front issued statements rejecting localized peace talks between local revolutionary groups and the GRP.

Duterte’s “localized peace talks” dovetail with such corruption-riddled programs as the “balik-baril program,” the Comprehensive Local Integration Program and the recent surrender campaign, the CPP pointed out.

“Only local government officials and military field officers are happy with the ‘localized peace talks’, a money-making racket with hundreds of million of funds that will surely end up in their pockets,” the CPP in a statement Friday (June 13) said.

The underground party accused AFP field officers of being overzealous in their effort to conjure the illusion of “mass surrenderees” where hundreds of local residents are being rounded up in AFP-occupied villages and later misrepresented before the public as “surrenderees”.

“They have overdone their surrender campaign as they have declared close to 8,000 surrendered since January, after having claimed earlier this year that there are only 3,000 NPA members,” the CPP said.

The group added AFP’s are being funded directly by Malacañan.

“The Party declares that the [NPA] and all revolutionary forces are united under the Party’s central leadership and unequivocably support the Negotiating Panel of the NDFP in its representation of all revolutionary forces in negotiations with the GRP,” it said.

“Surely, this pretend ‘localized’ peace talks will not involve even a single genuine revolutionary force. Duterte will certainly be negotiating only with its own shadow,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Revolutionary groups reject ‘local peace talks’ scheme

The Rodrigo Duterte government will only find empty chairs across the negotiating table when it tries to hold so-called localized peace talks.

The National Democratic Front-Panay (NDF-Panay) and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) said they are rejecting government’s latest scheme.

“NDF-Panay and all revolutionary forces in the region totally reject any call for local peace talks with the local bureaucracy or any other entity blessed by the anti-peace liar and chief fascist representative of the ruling class in the country (Duterte),” Concha Araneta, NDF-Panay spokesperson, in a July 7 statement said.

Araneta said that not one region has been enticed and fooled by any reactionary regime to face the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) in the regional, provincial, city or municipal level in order to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the armed conflict.

“Time and again, this divisive scheme has been rejected by the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and all NDFP forces and structures in the regions and provinces of the Philippines,” Araneta said.

Simon Naogsan, CPDF spokesperson, has also said their forces will not participate in any local peace talks with the government.

“Among us (Cordillerans), national oppression is perpetrated by the reactionary state ruled by big landlords, comprador bourgeoisie and US imperialism” Naogsan told The Philippine Star.

“We cannot expect these problems to be answered by local governments,” Naogsan explained, adding they will only support national peace negotiations.

Duterte order

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing Thursday (July 12) said the government will allow local government officials to conduct peace talks with communist revolutionaries in their respective areas.

Roque said Duterte made the decision after meeting his Cabinet security, peace, and justice clusters as well as lawmakers and local government officials last July 11.

Roque said the guiding framework for localized peace talks will include the following:

* It will be nationally orchestrated, centrally directed and locally supervised and implemented.

* The constitutional integrity and sovereignty will not be compromised.

* Complete and genuine resolution of the local armed conflict; it shall cover the NPAs, organs of political power and Militia ng Bayan.

* If there is a ceasefire, the constitutional mandate of the state to protect public safety, civilian welfare, critical infrastructure and private properties and the guarantee of rule of law and order will not be compromised at all times.

* Government goodwill, full amnesty package based on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration to the mainstream of society.

* The necessary enabling environment set by the President for the formal local talks to proceed are local venue, no coalition government or power-sharing, no revolutionary taxes, extortion, arson and violent activities and the fighters to remain in their pre-designated encampment areas.

* The substantive agenda will be based on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan and Philippine Development Program 2040.

Roque also said that peace and livelihood packages may be offered to NPA surrenderers.

Really crazy

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison dismissed Malacañan’s localized peace talks announcement.

“Duterte is really crazy. He wants to negotiate with his own shadow,” Sison said, adding so-called localized peace talks are an old discredited psychological warfare tactic.

Sison said that like reported fake surrender ceremonies using civilians and recycled surrenderers held by the military, local peace and order councils are money-making schemes for local politicians.

“This is a stupid waste of public money. It is a kind of racket, with the local political followers and military agents of Duterte pocketing the money for the fake surrenders [and localized peace talks],” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Oris: Many surrenderees AFP’s own

The New People’s Army (NPA) hit at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for parading “thousands of fake surrenderees” nationwide.

In a video message, NPA National Operations Command spokesperson Jorge Madlos said many of those paraded by the AFP before President Rodrigo Duterte are in fact members of their own paramilitary forces or innocent civilians who were forced by the military to pose as surrenderees.

“When we checked, the (AFP) list includes 36 Lumad paramilitaries from Lianga (Surigao del Sur) who are also on the list of those who massacred three fellow Lumads in September 1 (2015),” Madlos said.

Madlos added that the 36 paramilitary troopers are being led by Calpet Egua who is reported to have been trained, armed, supported and protected by the Philippine Army.

“The AFP uses this paramilitary group as fake NPA surrenderees to clear their names as having been involved in the massacre,” Madlos said.

Madlos, also known by his nom de guerre as Ka Oris, said it adds insult to injury that the so-called surrenderees were given houses and lots as well as pocket money by Duterte in a ceremony in Malacañan Palace.

Madlos said that the AFP also picked up civilians who were later presented as surrenderees as well as those who have long left the NPA and have already been living as ordinary farmers.

“They were again picked up and recycled as new surrenderees,” Madlos said.

“Although, in fact, there were real surrenderees, such as the alleged National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Far South Mindanao spokesperson,” he added, referring to Nilo Legaspi and his wife who surrendered last January.

Madlos said real surrenderees are very few and were only mixed with thousands of fake surrenderees.

The five or ten surrenderees does not make for a mass surrender of NPA forces, Madlos said.

Both Duterte and the AFP have repeatedly said the NPA is down to a few thousands of fighters left.

Far from being defeated

In January, former AFP chief of staff Rey Guerrero said the military is committed to weaken by 50 percent the NPA, which he said has only about 3,700 fighters nationwide.

In its presentation of hundreds of surrenderees to Duterte, the AFP said the so-called surrenderees were part of 4,000 who recently abandoned armed struggle.

“These are indicators of growing discontent within their organizations, the success of our programs, and the cooperation between residents and local government units,” AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a press conference last January.

Netizens, however, pointed out that the Duterte government in fact presented 300 more so-called surrendered members than the AFP’s claim of NPA’s 3,700 fighters.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in their 49th anniversary statement last March that the NPA has more than a hundred guerilla fronts with at least company sized formations in addition as many People’s Militia units all over the country.

The CPP also said that Duterte and the AFP are wasting public funds on fake surrenderees.

“Over the past few months, Duterte himself and the entire military and defence establishment have spent hundreds of millions of pesos to stage Malacañang dinners with the president, tours around Luneta and other cheap gimmickry. The bigger portion of the monies, of course, line the pockets of armed forces field officials,” the CPP said in a statement last March.

“If we are to believe claims made by officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the end of 2017 that the NPA is down to 3,700 members, then by simple subtraction, one can conclude that the AFP under Duterte has already accomplished what the previous regimes have failed to do: defeat the NPA,” it added.

In a separate announcement, CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison said the NPA is nowhere near being defeated, being present in at least 73 of the country’s 81 provinces.

Sison added that NPA presence in these provinces “denotes the existence of the people´s militia and the self-defense units of the revolutionary mass organizations. These two layers of people´s defense are the auxiliary and reserve force of the NPA.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

NDFP could no longer negotiate with Duterte regime—Sison

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said they could no longer negotiate with a government headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In his strongest statement condemning Duterte’s repeated cancellation of formal talks yet, Sison said the Filipino people, especially the oppressed and exploited, cannot expect any benefit from negotiating with Duterte’s government, adding the president has broken so many promises related to the peace process.

“It is relatively easier and more productive for the NDFP to participate in the Oust-Duterte movement and to prepare for peace negotiations with the prospective administration that replaces the Duterte regime,” Sison said Thursday (June 28).

Sison said the Duterte regime is on record as having terminated the peace talks so many times that it is indubitably responsible for the termination of peace negotiations.

“It is therefore just for the revolutionary forces and the people to wage people´s war for national liberation and democracy,” Sison said.

Sison added that it would be well and good if Duterte withdraws finally from the peace negotiations with the NDFP.

But, in so doing, Duterte would deprive himself of the opportunity of creating false illusions that he is for peace, Sison said.

“He stands isolated and ripe for ouster by the broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces,” Sison said.

Duterte’s many lies

In a two part statement, Sison mentioned several promises broken by Duterte, including an unsolicited declaration on May 16, 2016 to amnesty and release all political prisoners.

Duterte only released 19 NDFP peace consultants in August 2016 to allow them to participate in the talks while about 520 NDFP-listed others remain in various detention facilities nationwide.

Duterte has also terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP three times since May 2017, even fouling up every attempt to resume formal talks through back channel efforts, Sison said.

After terminating the peace negotiations for the third time in November and December 2017, Duterte issued Proclamation 360 to terminate the peace negotiations and Proclamation 374 to designate the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.

The Department of Justice subsequently filed a case before the Manila regional trial court (RTC) to seek the proscription of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and 600 individuals as terrorists.

“These are definitely obstacles to the resumption of peace negotiations with Duterte regime,” Sison said.

“Warm and cordial” start

NDFP’s negotiations with the Duterte government started well with the first two formal rounds of talks in Oslo, Norway described as “warm and cordial.”

Things turned sour, however, when a Philippine Army unit attacked an NPA camp in Arakan, North Cotabato in January 2017, killing an NPA fighter.

The attack came while the third round of formal talks just approved free land distribution as the centerpiece of a prospective agrarian reform and rural development agreement.

The five-month ceasefire in effect at the time, the longest between the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was subsequently cancelled by both parties.

The fourth round of formal talks in Noordwijk, The Netherlands in April 2017 was very nearly cancelled due to the insistence of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiating panel to negotiate a bilateral ceasefire agreement before further negotiations on social and economic reforms can proceed.

GRP negotiators explained that a bilateral ceasefire agreement are goodwill measures that would provide a conducive atmosphere for the continuation of formal talks.

No fifth round of formal talks has yet pushed through despite the arrival of GRP negotiators in Noordwijk in May and  November 2017.

“The aforesaid actions of Duterte would have been enough bases for the NDFP to conclude that he is not at all interested in peace negotiations,” Sison said.

The CPP founder said the NDFP persevered and worked out a number of agreements with GRP representatives in back channel talks from March to June 2018, due in great part to the demands of peace advocates to remain on the negotiating table.

“The most important of these would have constituted the Interim Peace Agreement at the resumption of formal talks in Oslo from June 28 to 30,” Sison said.

The real reasons

Sison said the AFP and PNP’s wish to carry out to the end of 2018 their campaign plan to supposedly to finish off the NPA as well as to change the venue of peace talks to Manila are the real reasons why Duterte has canceled the resumption of peace talks in Oslo.

The change of venue is so that Duterte and the military can put the NDFP under their control, surveillance duress and manipulation, Sison said.

He said Ðuterte pretends to review in three months the entire process and all agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations since 1992.

“By all indications, he will try to change the entire peace process and waste previous agreements. At any rate, he will try to impose on the NDFP changes that the NDFP will certainly reject,” he explained. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Only spoilers are happy with peace talks postponement—Bayan Muna

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate expressed dismay in the delay of the resumption of formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Reacting to Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza’s announcement Thursday that the scheduled formal talks on June 28 is postponed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Zarate said the issue of public consultations can be addressed while the negotiations are ongoing.

“They should not be used as stumbling blocks or preconditions for the resumption of the negotiations,” Zarate said.

The progressive solon added the Filipino people have long supported the peace talks for a just and lasting peace.

“Indeed, addressing the root causes of the armed conflict like landlessness, oppression and exploitation, among others, will certainly get the continued support of the majority of Filipinos,” Zarate explained.

Meanwhile, defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted military and police authorities expressed concerns the New People’s Army will only use the resumption of the peace talks to strengthen their forces, media outfit Rappler reported.

Lorenzana confirmed this were among the issues GRP security forces raised when GRP negotiators briefed Duterte Wednesday, June 13, on the results of the four round of informal talks in The Netherlands.

“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) wholly support the President’s peace initiative. But they also raised the alarm that the peace process could be used by the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to regroup and strengthen their mass base as they have done numerous times before,” Lorenzana told Rappler.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said this was among the matters raised by security officials during the meeting, Rappler said.

Zarate, however, said such delays will only give “peace spoilers and saboteurs” longer time to sabotage the peace process.

“Resume the talks now. It is only those who benefit and profit from the current inequitable and unjust system will not support the peace talks and will do all they can to sabotage it,” Zarate said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma says NDFP will follow stand down agreement if signed

Jose Maria Sison said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will follow the terms of their prospective stand down agreement with Government of the Republic of Philippines (GRP) should both parties push through with its declaration on June 14.

Sison was reacting to the Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement that the military doubts the Reds would abide by the agreement.

“The stand down agreement creates a favorable atmosphere for the resumption of the formal peace negotiations and the interim peace agreement to be signed in Oslo, hopefully on June 28,” Sison explained.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Friday that Lorenzana and Philippine Army Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno doubt communist guerrillas would respect any ceasefire ahead of the resumption of formal peace negotiations with the government.

The report quoted Lorenzana telling reporters during an Air Force forum at Camp Aguinaldo Thursday that it might only be the military that would follow a stand down agreement between the NDFP and the GRP.

“What does stand down mean anyway? We might stand down but they wouldn’t,” Lorenza said.

“Stand down means ‘cease operations.’ Stand down for them might mean there would be no attacks but we suspect they will continue their recruitment. They also have to stop that if there is a stand-down,” the Inquirer reported Lorenzana saying.

Lorenza said the rebels are actually intensifying their expansion of their areas.

In the past, however, NDFP negotiators have said their recruitment activities have nothing to do with the NPA’s military operations, which would be the subject of the prospective stand down agreement between the NDFP and GRP negotiating panels.

Peace saboteurs

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate hit Lorenzana and the military for issuing statements that “spoil and sabotage the peace negotiations.”

“Stop monkey-wrenching the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” Zarate told Lorenzana and the military.

Zarate said Lorenzana and the military have been launching attacks against the peace process in all fronts but fail to put forward a paradigm that would effectively address the root causes of the armed conflict.

“Their default solution to the problem is still the US-prescribed combination of psychological warfare and military counter-insurgency operations that they have been doing for decades and have been proven to be a failure and a waste of lives and resources,” Zarate said.

Zarate said he calls on all peace advocates to be watchful of spoilers and saboteurs as the negotiating panels push for the forging a comprehensive agreements on socio-economic and political reforms.

“It would be best for the DND and the AFP to concentrate on the defense of the Philippines from China and the US that are now increasing their military activities in our territories instead of trying to sabotage the peace talks that can pave the way for a just and lasting peace and uplift the lives of majority of Filipinos,” Zarate said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)