AFP open to peace talks with NPA-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) still offers to pursue the localized peace talks with the rebels, despite the recent ambush in La Castellana perpetrated by the New People's Army (NPA).
Major General Jose Mabanta of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the localized peace talks will be pursued, adding that the ambush incident has also sown disillusionment and division among the NPA rebel ranks.
Nine people, including a policeman, died in the said ambush while 14 others, including two police officers, were wounded.
In a press conference Wednesday, Mabanta said that the doors remain open for localized peace talks.
He said the La Castellana ambush is a blunder on the part of the NPA and no amount of justification can change the fact that civilians were killed -- a violation of the International Humanitarian Law.
He also urged stakeholders, especially those in the private sector, including the church, to help facilitate the localized peace talks.
As far as the La Castellana ambush is concerned, Mabanta said that it was Romeo Nanta, a top NPA leader who was previously arrested, but has posted bailed, who planned the said “tactical offensive.”
He continued to challenge the NPA hierarchy to surrender their members who have taken part in the gruesome incident so that the victims and their families can be given justice.
Mabanta also said that the ambush-massacre triggered arguments within the NPA hierarchy, because there were civilians who were killed.
He pointed out that the statements issued by the spokesmen of the underground movement do not agree with each other, which show that there are factions within their organization. (TDE)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 14, 2013.