Peace process with CPP-NPA closed but not locked – peace adviser
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 March) – Peace process with the Communist
Party of the Philippines can be opened again, Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process Sec. Jesus Dureza told a conference of local
governments involved in peace work here Thursday.
Dureza said peace talks with the communists have been closed, but not
locked either. “It can be opened anytime,” he said.
Dureza cited, however, that it is the communist group’s refusal to go
into a ceasefire agreement among other things that is holding the
government at the moment.
“We cannot focus on working on a peace process if there is fighting on
the ground,” he said, referring also to the peace negotiations between
the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
has called on local governments to make peace-building as part of
their local development plan.
A day after Dureza’s pronouncement, however, Armed Forces Chief of
Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told national media he wanted communism
to be outlawed again over an allegation the left is taking advantage
of the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1986 to topple government.
The Anti-Subversion Law (Republic Act 1700), which afforded easier
arrests during Martial Law, was repealed during the term of President
Corazon Aquino to lure the rebels to talk peace with the government.
Esperon told members of the Manila Overseas Press Club Friday they
need to file the appropriate charges against leftist personalities,
such as Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, so they could pursue
Ocampo has challenged the court ruling at the Supreme Court. While
waiting for the high court’s ruling today, he was taken into custody
by Manila policemen.
He has gone into hiding after a local court issued an arrest warrant
for the murder of suspected communist rebels.
Negotiations with the CPP-NDF-NPA have been cancelled since August
2004 after the rebels accused the government of not doing enough to
remove CPP head Jose Ma. Sison and the CPP’s armed wing, the New
People’s Army (NPA), from the United States’ and the European Union’s
terrorism blacklists. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)