THE Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III has urged the communists to minimize their attacks against companies and communities to uphold confidence building and give the public assurance that the ongoing steps towards peace will not turn futile.
Bello, in an interview at the sidelines of the National Informal Sector Day Celebration at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City, said that he has already talked with Fidel Agcaoili, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) panel chair, with regards to the recent attack and burning of a box plant facility in Davao City.
“Sabi ko, you lessen the level of violence because this is in line with The Hague Joint Declaration that is to provide the talks with a conducive atmosphere,” Bello said.
According to him, it is important to earn the trust of the public who apparently lost their hope that peace would be attained every time they heard news of attacks, burning and extortion launched by members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Pag nawalan ng tiwala ang taong bayan sa proseso natin, we will lose their support wala na kaming mandato sa makipag-usap sa inyo,” Bello said, adding that these attacks are normal since there was no bilateral agreement signed yet between both parties to lay down their arms, however, this would also affect their credibility since people are blatant in questioning the sincerity of the communists to the peace talks.
"So we expect na may mga ganyang incidents. Pero sinabi ko sa kanya, you know the peace talk - it’s not only peace talk - the talk [that] we talk doon sa la mesa. We have a bigger table and that is our people,” Bello added.
When asked about the response of Agcaoili, Bello said that he vowed to look into the issue because for their part, the NPA also have their reasons for initiating such attacks.
There’s a meeting on ceasefire between GRP and NDFP Committee on Socio Economic Reforms and committee ahead of the fifth round of peace talks slated at the end of the month in The Netherlands.
Both panels are still discussing the issue before coming up with the bilateral ceasefire agreement and ironing out the terms and conditions.
Meanwhile, Bello had already directed the regional director of Dole-11 to look at the affected and displaced employees of Lapanday Foods Corporations (LFC) to be provided with emergency employment program from one to three months.