Gov't targets private armed groups ahead of 2013 polls-A A +A
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Wednesday various concerned government agencies have been working together to implement initiatives to dismantle private armed groups.
Speaking at the annual forum with Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines' (Focap), Aquino assured that the administration will continue efforts to disband private militias to ensure peace and order particularly in Mindanao especially in the upcoming elections next year.
"We've been on a program to dismantle these private armed groups I think about less than four months; meaning, that was the time that they actually went for an operation to dismantle," Aquino said.
He said several private armies have already been dismantled particularly in Central Luzon and the Cordilleras since the program was implemented.
"There's a validation of the order of battle and I think not a week goes by without a report on specific armed groups that have already been dismantled," he added.
Aquino said he has given instructions for Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to continue the effort as the country prepares for the 2013 mid-term elections.
To recall, human rights advocate group Amnesty International has called on the government to revoke Executive Order 546, which it said allowed private militias to operate since 2006.
The group noted that the government must immediately prohibit and disband private armies and paramilitary forces responsible for election-related attacks in various areas of the country.
Resuming talks with communist rebels
Meantime, Aquino expressed hope that his administration could revive the peace dialogue with the communist rebels following the signing this week of the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) reportedly expressed intention to renew the peace negotiations with the government.
Asked how optimistic he was in resuming the peace talks with the communists, Aquino said he tends to be pessimistic in the sense of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
"In this case, I will not change. But there is some reason to believe that we're moving forward in terms of the dialogue and the efforts that we are trying to achieve settlement also with the CPP-NPA-NDF," he said.
Aquino said that he could not mention a time table but he noted that the talks will start from where it stopped.
Peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF were suspended in November last year because of the continuing demands of the rebel to free jailed comrades they claimed were consultants to the negotiations. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)