DILG rejects calls for the resumption of peace talks with Reds

Published February 24, 2021, 9:37 AM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has rejected proposals to resume the peace negotiations between the national government and the communist rebels.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) (MANILA BULLETIN)

The DILG statement supported he position of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that rejects “the resumption of the failed peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front).’’

DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Bernardo Florece Jr. stressed that any “back channel efforts to resume talks with the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) is an exercise in futility saying that the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders never showed sincerity and “have proven, time and again, that they are against peace.’’

“The duplicitous nature of the communist terrorists has long been unmasked as they pretend to be treading the path of peace while continuing to ambush our soldiers and cops, abuse indigenous peoples, and poison the minds of our youth into joining their cause and taking up arms against the government. It is very clear that peace talks for the CPP-NPA-NDF is not for the purpose of achieving peace but to get concessions from government without giving anything in return,’’ Florece said.

Pointing to the statement of NDF leader Luis Jalandoni, Florence pointed out that peace talks are ‘another form of legal struggle, which is possible to be used by the revolutionary forces in order to advance the revolutionary armed struggle and the revolutionary mass movement.” 

“Clearly, the CPP-NPA-NDF’s singular purpose of calling for peace talks again is to advance their armed struggle through other means and draw away government forces who are decimating their guerilla fronts,’’ he added.

Florence also noted that the local government units (LGUs) have aired their position against the communist rebels with 1,311 provinces, cities and municipalities declaring them as persona non grata as of December 12, 2020.

“This is aside from the 25,520  barangays that have also issued  resolutions declaring that the CPP-NPA-NDF are not welcome in their communities,’’ Florece said.

Instead, Florece vowed that the DILG and its partners will vigorously pursue localized peace engagements which are far more inclusive and allow the participation of the LGU and the communities in local peace talks directly with the “guerillas themselves’’. 

Through this localized approach with local chief executives leading the negotiations with rebel groups on the ground, Florece said that local peace and order issues are addressed and solutions implemented immediately.
With this scheme, Florece disclosed that 1,833 former rebels received over  P144 million in immediate assistance, livelihood assistance, reintegration assistance and firearms remuneration under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in 2020. 

He added that P210 million in financial assistance has been extended to 41 provinces and highly-urbanized cities for the construction of halfway houses which serve as temporary shelter for former rebels while their documents are in process.

“The President has already shut the doors to any form of negotiation through Proclamation 360 which declared the termination of peace negotiations with them. Moreover, the President also issued Proclamation 374 which declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization pursuant to Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012,’’ Florece ended.