President Rodrigo Duterte will give much importance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) recommendation not to have a truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) this holiday season.
In a press briefing from Palawan, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that although Duterte has yet to decide on the matter, he gives “a lot of weight” to the recommendation of the AFP.
“Ako po’y tagapagsalita lamang (I am just spokesperson), I cannot second guess the decision of the President. But ang ma-a-assure ko sa inyo yung mga ganyang rekomendasyon ng AFP (but what I can assure you is that recommendations from the AFP), the President gives it a lot of weight,” he said.
Roque said the decision remains with Duterte as the AFP’s commander-in-chief.
“Pakikinggan po ‘yan (He will listen to the recommendation) but ultimately it’s only the President who will decide,” he added.
In a press statement on Thursday, AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the AFP is not inclined to recommend a truce with CPP-NPA, noting that terrorists have been demonstrating insincerity in previous agreements.
“The AFP — wishing and longing for a peaceful Yuletide Season for the Filipino people notwithstanding — will not recommend to the Commander-in-Chief (President Rodrigo Duterte) a holiday ceasefire with the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG),” he said.
Arevalo pointed out that the ceasefire period was just being used by the NPA to continue attacking and killing government troops and civilians.
He explained that there were cases in the past that the CPP-NPA reneged from their own ceasefire declaration.
Quoting National Democratic Front of the Philippines negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Arevalo said the CPP-NPA will only seek peace talks to give themselves the chance to regroup, refurbish, recruit new members, and recoup their losses.
“Luis Jalandoni, an NDF (National Democratic Front) negotiator, boldly declared that they push for peace negotiations not really to bring about tranquility, but to pursue armed struggle. They broker peace covenants as a means to an end which is to overthrow the government,” he said.
He said the AFP will not allow the CPP-NPA to trample upon people’s desire for peace, especially during the holiday season.
However, he said the AFP will respect the President’s decision.
The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Source: Philippines News agency