Give peaceful polls a chance, Drilon appeals to NPA rebels-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
MANILA -- The campaign manager of administration-backed Team PNoy on Tuesday appealed to the communist rebels not to disrupt the conduct of a peaceful election in May.
"I challenge our fellow Filipinos who are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) to participate in the electoral process," said Senator Franklin Drilon, as Team PNoy candidates barnstormed the Caraga Region, one of the remaining hotbeds of the four-decade-old communist insurgency.
Caraga, one of the country's poorest regions, is made up of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
"The best and most effective way to change the system is by electing to power the people that we believe will carry out the reforms we all want to see," Drilon added.
Speaking to reporters in Surigao City, the senator disclosed that Team PNoy's local allies have been victimized by the NPA asking from them campaign fees ranging from P800,000 to P1 million.
Drilon challenged the NDF, the political wing of the CPP-NPA, which has held on-and-off peace talks with the government since the 1990s, to "demonstrate utmost sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations."
Reports earlier said that talks between the NDF and the Philippine government bogged down because there was "no meeting of minds."
During the terms of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Drilon was a consultant in the peace panels that were formed to reach out to communist and Muslim rebels.
Citing the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the Bangsamoro entity, administration candidate Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr. said a peaceful Philippines is not impossible under the governance of President Benigno Aquino III.
Magsaysay's father, the late President Ramon Magsaysay, was instrumental in ending in the 50s the Huk rebellion tied to agrarian unrest.
"Team PNoy supports all efforts at ending the conflict in Mindanao. That is why the President needs a majority in the Senate, to ensure the success of the peace negotiations with the MILF, as well as with the CPP-NPA-NDF," Magsaysay said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)