By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday announced that it is welcoming any decision of President Duterte regarding the revival of peace talks between the national government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
However, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, said the CPP-NPA-NDFP should be “sincere” this time and avoid backstabbing the government by launching violent attacks against policemen, soldiers and civilians.
“Siguro lahat naman gusto ng lasting peace. Kami rin, dito sa PNP, gusto naming mapayapa ang ating bayan at wala nang violent confrontation between the security forces and the New People’s Army (All of us wants lasting peace. Even us, in the PNP, we want our country to be peaceful and no more violent confrontation between the security forces and the New People’s Army),” Bulalacao told reporters at Camp Crame.
President Duterte on Tuesday said that he is again considering the revival of peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP.
“Gusto namin ‘yung magiging desisyon ni Presidente Duterte dito pero sana bigyang-pansin ng CPP-NPA-NDFP na maging sinsero sila sa kung anuman ang pag-usapan at umiwas na sila na magsagawa ng violent actions sa security at sa civilians (So we want whatever President Duterte’s decision would be but the CPP-NPA-NDFP should be sincere on whatever agreement would be made and avoid launching violent actions to security [forces] and civilians),” he added.
When Duterte terminated the peace talks in November 2017, he reasoned out that he lost interest especially after its “intentional” ambush in Talakad, Bukidnon that left a four-month-old baby dead.
Citing PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Bulalacao also said that the Reds often take advantage of the lull in the fight brought by the peace talks to boost their forces.
“Sabi nga ni Chief PNP, ito ang pagkakataon ng kanilang grupo para magpalakas ng pwersa, magrecruit ng gustong maisama sa kanilang grupo at magsawa ng violent activities tulad ng pagsunog ng construction equipment (Just like what the chief PNP said, this is the time for their group to strengthen their force, recruit those they want to be part of their group and conduct violent activities like burning construction equipment),” Bulalacao stressed.
Furthermore, the NPA has intensified its attack against the government and civilians over the past few days.
In fact, suspected NPA members burned over the weekend construction heavy equipment in Davao City amounting to P65 million.
Last Tuesday, another burning incident supposedly perpetrated by NPA members happened in Davao del Norte. The rebels set on fire a backhoe and a dump truck in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod.
Furthermore, Bulalacao said that once the peace talks resume, it does not mean that they will release the suspected NPA members and leaders who were arrested by government forces when the talks were terminated by President Duterte.
“They will not be automatically released. There will be conditions that will be set on their talks. Kapag sinabing papakawalan sila, based on what they will agree upon, susundin ng PNP ‘yun. (If [President Duterte] says to release them, based on what they will agree upon, we will adhere to that),” he said.
Among the alleged NPA leaders and members detained at PNP national headquarters are NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis and his son-in-law Marklen Maojo Maga, whom the PNP said is a member of the executive committee of the National Youth and Student Bureau of the CPP-NPA; and Guillermo Roque.
The PNP spokesperson also stated that they are still hunting down the couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the NDFP leaders who were ordered arrested by Duterte after the termination of the peace talks last year.
“Standing pa rin ‘yung utos na ‘yun at ang intelligence community ay patuloy na hinahanap pa rin itong mga ito. Hangga’t wala pang peace talks ipagpapatuloy ang effort against them (That order still stands and the intelligence community is still finding them. Until the peace talks have not been revived, our efforts against them continue),” Bulalacao said.