AFP unlikely to recommend holiday truce with Reds

MANILA The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not inclined to recommend any Christmas truce with the remaining communist rebels, citing that the latter is using the season as an opportunity to regroup their forces.

"(A Christmas truce) is something that the AFP is not going to recommend because, in the past, we are talking about historical records, every time that ceasefires are being declared they take advantage of this to recruit, refurbish, regroup and research so we do not them to be able to that and take advantage of the season," said AFP spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo in an interview with CNN Philippines' 'The Source' Wednesday.

Arevalo said while the AFP supports calls for lasting and inclusive peace, a Christmas truce is not among its options as this is only for a short period of time which the communist rebels can use to their advantage.

Earlier, the AFP spokesperson added that the military respects the decision of President Rodrigo R. Duterte's to give communist rebels another chance for peace negotiations.

"The AFP respects and supports the wisdom of the Commander-in-Chief in issuing such pronouncements," he said.

Earlier, Duterte announced that he will send Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III the Netherlands to discuss with Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison his administration's plans to give them another chance for a dialogue that will pave the way for peace talks.

"We understand that those instructions to Secretary Bello are in the nature of exploratory discussion with Mr. Sison and are meant towards the attainment of sustainable peace which is the President's and also the AFP's ultimate desire," Arevalo said.

Despite this, the AFP will continue with its successful focus military operations in support of the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict which is now is reaping the gains tremendously in terms of New People's Army neutralization and enormous support of the local government and the people, he added. "If we are to negotiate, therefore, we so do from the position of strength," the AFP spokesperson said.

He also reiterated the AFP leadership, from past to present, is wholly supportive of the peace process along with the rest of the Filipino nation who is yearning for lasting and legitimate peace.

"Time and again, the AFP leadership from the incumbent Chief of Staff General Noel Clement and his predecessors, we unequivocally commit to all-out peace that shall embody the aspirations of our people who have long been yearning for it," Arevalo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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