Creation of localized peace panels 'more advantageous' to communists

MANILA. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing in Malacanang Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Screenshot from RTVM video)
MANILA. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing in Malacanang Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Screenshot from RTVM video)

THE termination of appointments of government peace panel members negotiating with communist insurgents was meant to pave the way for the creation of committees that will engage in localized peace deals, Malacañang clarified Thursday, March 21.

"New panels will be created, localized with sectorized representatives, local government units, and military," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press conference.

Panelo made the clarification after Duterte dissolved on March 18 the government negotiating peace panel led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, following the stalled peace negotiations with the communist movement.

On Wednesday, March 20, communist founder Jose Maria Sison said that his group had already anticipated the cancellation of appointment of the government peace negotiating panel.

Sison also accused Duterte of having "no interest in the peace negotiations because he has always schemed to use the armed conflict as an excuse for carrying out martial law nationwide and for railroading charter change to a bogus kind of federalism, in order to realize and impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people."

Panelo countered Sison's remarks, saying the latest move would be more advantageous to the communists.

"He (Sison) read it wrongly. Kaya nga there will be creation nga of many panels eh, localized eh. Oh eh 'di lalo na nga pabor sa kanila (There will be creation of many panels to pursue localized peace negotiations. It would be more favorable to them)," he said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. noted Wednesday, March 20, that the new panels that will be created to supervise localized peace engagements would be based on the Colombian model, which includes representatives from different sectoral groups, local government units, and the military "whose presence are essential to the peace negotiations."

The peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front, political wing of the communist party, has been intermittent since it commenced in 1986.

In November 2017, Duterte issued a proclamation, which formally terminated the peace talks with the communist guerillas, following the series of attacks staged by the New People's Army, armed component of the communists, against the government forces.

Duterte, however, signed Executive Order 70 in December 2018, instructing the national task force tasked to end local communism to develop measures enabling local chief executives and directing local peace bodies to conduct local peace talks with the communists. (SunStar Philippines)


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