FORMER Representative Satur Ocampo said President Benigno Aquino III’s remarks about the peace negotiation with the National Democratic Front (NDF) were vague. 

 

Ocampo said the President is more positive about pursuing the peace talk with the MILF, but with the NDF, he reverted to the original position of late President Corazon Aquino in 1987, when he said that the government is ready to talk about the long term ceasefire.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

"It’s a matter that has been rejected by the NDF since 1987, during the entire period of former President Fidel Ramos and all throughout. President Aquino should have known that it is a stumbling block to peace negotiation. By putting it forward as another precondition, that is practically closing the possibility of peace negotiation resuming immediately,” Ocampo said.  

Ocampo, national president of Bayan Muna, was in the province Tuesday to follow through the case of Benjamin Bayles, who was killed in Himamaylan City after the elections.

He is particularly interested in the report that after the prosecutor filed the murder case against two suspected elements of the Philippine Army, the suspects were found negative for powder burns. 

“So, that would tend to absolve the two suspects.  We are concerned that there might be a possible cover up, so I’m interested to look into that,” Ocampo said. 

   

On other aspects of the Sona, many things remained hanging about his economic platform, except for saying that he would liberalize or simplify the requirements for the registration of the business by reducing the number of documents necessary; and that there is an increase of interested investors, said Ocampo.

 

Ocampo added that Aquino did not identify the priority areas of investment and he only mentioned government and private sector partnerships, specifically the building of infrastructure projects through the Build and Operate Transfer (BOT) scheme by saying that the government won’t spend a single centavo.   

But he failed to mention that under the BOT scheme, the investor will recover its investment in the form of tolls, which they collect from the public. 

There’s the controversy now for the increase of toll fees north and south of Metro Manila, so there’s a problem in these areas, Ocampo stated.

 

“On the issue of the extra-judicial killings, he mentioned about three cases nearly solved by the government but we have to find out what they will do to really solve those cases. He did not go deeper on the issue, especially the Alston report of the United Nations that pinpointed the Armed Forces of the Philippines being responsible for the extra-judicial killings,” Ocampo lamented. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)