NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. is backing the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
Marañon said Tuesday the peace process should be cancelled because the New People’s Army (NPA) has committed violations amid the ongoing ceasefire between the National Government and the rebels.
He said it is up to the President if he would still give the peace process a chance.
The President has intelligence information and the military and the police also have recommendations, the governor added.
The NPA has announced the impending lifting of its unilateral ceasefire with the government because of the President's supposed failure to fulfill his promise to release a number of political prisoners.
The President, however, has maintained that he could not release all the detained rebels because he had already "given too much" and it would appear that he had already granted them amnesty.
This was followed by the Chief Executive's announcement to lift the government's truce with the communist rebels as well as the end to the peace talks.
While Marañon admitted that the efforts to attain lasting peace was put to waste, he said the provincial government will continue to help the other side as long as they will return to the folds of the law.
“Since I got elected as governor, I’ve been telling them to leave the armed struggle and go back to the society so we could work as one. Whatever is the problem, we will talk about it,” he said.
The governor added: “I pity them. They are sacrificing (in the mountains). They are hungry. They are far from their families. Their children can’t go to school.”
Marañon said the provincial government, through its peace and development programs, will continue to help the rebels who have left the movement.
The development of an area would be difficult if there’s no security as investors and contractors won’t come, he added.
Marañon said the Philippine Army can decide if they will reinforce the security forces in Negros Island Region following the top defense official’s declaration of an all-out war against the rebels.
Late last year, some of the army troopers in the region were sent to Mindanao.
“If they will augment us here, then very good,” the governor added.
Since last week, the police and the army in Negros Island are on full alert status after Duterte said the government will no longer negotiate with the rebels unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) in Negros assailed Duterte for his decision, as they claimed he based it on “lies” and “superficial and deceiving” report.