By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday (March 22, 2019) said that the statement made by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding leader Jose Maria Sison that localized peace talks is a waste of people’s money is completely false.
In a statement, AFP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said since January 2018 to date, more than 11 thousand NPA regulars, supporters, and sympathizers who have realized that they have been deceived have descended from their mountain hideouts to rejoin their families, avail of government benefits, and live normal lives.
“Mr. Sison has the temerity to call President Duterte “stupid” for thinking that government will be successful in attaining peace by engaging NPA Commanders and fighters on the ground instead of the CPP-NPA’s national leadership. Mr. Sison speaks like a smart aleck to conceal his panic. He is, of course, aware that localized peace engagement has been immensely successful,” Arevalo said.
“Mr. Sison consistently calls localized peace talks as a “waste of people’s money”, “cheap trick”, “absurd and stupid”, and by other deriding terms. He moves heaven and earth to prevent it because it will further relegate him to history’s dustbin and render him and his ilk, as they are now, insignificant,” he added.
Arevalo said the old man who is enjoying life in the Netherlands on an infirm invocation of the principle of non-refoulement is now probably thinking of waiting for the future administrations to favor him.
“But enough is enough. 50 years of duplicity, deceit, and murder of thousands of his comrades on mere suspicion of being military informants or have expressed desire to go back to mainstream society must stop. Not tomorrow but today,” Arevalo said.
“We once more call on fellow Filipinos who still hang on to the false hopes and deceptions peddled by Mr. Sison and his minions to come out from hiding. They should follow the lead of their comrades who stopped being a menace to society and are now experiencing a life free from hunger, fear, and uncalled for perils fighting the government. They should take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs,” he added.
On the issue of Safe Conduct Pass of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants in relation to the termination of peace talks, Arevalo said the Safe Conduct Passes (SCPs) that were issued to individuals for purposes of being consultant to the peace negotiations ipso facto loses efficacy when the peace negotiation, which is the SCP’s reason for being, has been terminated.
“This follows that such individuals availing of such SCPs may now be validly arrested,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has permanently terminated the government’s peace talks with the communist terrorist group, saying the rebels could try to talk peace with his successor instead.
With the peace talks over, the President has also directed the military to step up the operations against the communist rebels in the hope the insurgency could be finished within his term.