MANILAThe Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday condemned the ambush on the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and her police escorts in Camarines Sur saying such act showed the futility of negotiating peace with communist leader Jose Maria Sison.
We condemn the killing of three police officers during the ambush of a PNP convoy escorting FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno. This violent incident against government officials who are just doing their jobs is a pure act of terrorism that shows the futility of talking to Joma Sison, DILG Officer-In-Charge Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said in a news release.
On Thursday morning, Puno's convoy, consisting of her vehicle and two police vehicles, was passing through Barangay Napolidan in Lupi, Camarines Sur at around 9:10 a.m. when around 20 New People's Army (NPA) rebels opened fire, resulting in the death of three police security escorts and the wounding of three others.
Puno's vehicle sped off as the assailants continuously shot the tailing police car.
"How can Joma expect to have meaningful peace negotiations when they are killing our police officers and ambushing government officials including the FDA head who was just there to attend a government event?" AAo said.
AAo said Sison's new offer to resume peace talks is a clear attempt to relieve pressure on the NPA, which is losing the battle in the mountains to government forces.
"More than a thousand former rebels have since returned to the fold of the law and they are feeling the pressure. Peace talks are a way for them to regroup and strengthen their forces," he said.
AAo added that Sison's new offer is a futile attempt to divert the people's attention from their foiled "Red October" plot to oust the Duterte administration.
"Sison wants to take the Filipino people for another ride. Now that their 'Red October' plot has fizzled, now that they realize that there is no hope to oust this administration, they now suddenly want to go back to the negotiating table," he said.
AAo, however, insisted that there is no use talking peace if government forces and civilians are dying and if the rebel group continue to commit atrocities and terrorist acts like the Camarines Sur ambush.
"Peace requires confidence-building measures, and the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/ National Democratic Front) has failed in this respect. They have only themselves to blame," he said.
If Sison and his minions are truly sincere, AAo said the communist terrorist group should stop all forms of hostilities, extortion activities and burning of construction or farm equipment and instead build mutual trust with the government to achieve genuine peace.
"When you offer peace with your left hand but shoot with your right hand like what they did to our policemen in Camarines Sur, that's the height of duplicity," he said.
We in government are working double time to ensure peace and order in the country. Instead of talking to Joma, we will instead pursue localized peace talks as mentioned by the President because we will never give up on peace, AAo said.
We will pursue localized peace talks in every region where there are communist rebels. Peace and order is our top priority and we will uphold these local peace talks until the last rebel lays down his arms, he said. (DILG PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency