By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) belied the claims of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that the government shut its doors on peace negotiations, adding that the administration is going “all out” on localized peace talks.
“Joma is mistaken. The government has always been on the side of peace. We are not the villains here. We have always been relentless in the pursuit of promoting peace and we are not giving up on it,” DILG Officer-in-Charge Secretary Eduardo Año said, referring to CPP founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.
Año made the statement after Sison accused him, along with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, of convincing President Duterte to stop the peace negotiations in his recent interview in The Netherlands where he is currently staying.
The DILG Chief explained that with the halt of national peace negotiations, the government opted to explore avenues of peace, particularly localized peace talks, in its desire to end hostilities on the ground.
He added that they are also waiting for an Executive Order from the President regarding the guidelines in starting the localized peace talks.
Año said pursuing localized peace talks is better because the CPP/New People’s Army (NPA)/National Democratic Front (NDF) have only themselves to blame for the collapse of the peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
“It’s useless to talk to Joma and his cohorts. We would rather talk to local rebels who are actually fighting in the mountains and not Joma and those like him who are enjoying the comforts of living in Europe while his minions are doing the hard work,” Año said.