Defense chief supports localized peace talks

MANILA Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday he is supportive of peace talks so long as they are held in the Philippines.

"First, hindi naman natin sinasara yung peace process. (We are not totally shutting down the peace process). The door is always open there. However small, sabi ni Presidente (according to the President), we have to have a window or a door open for peace talks, kasi ang sabi niya kagabi sa (what he said Monday night in the) Cabinet meeting, 'I don't want to be accused na (of) turning my back against peace,'" Lorenzana said at the sidelines of the New Year's Call that was held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers' Club at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He also clarified that there is an ongoing peace process, albeit a localized one, which is contrary to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison's desire for negotiations abroad.

"Ang gusto kasi ni Joma the same pa rin (What Joma wants is the same) we go abroad, we go to Norway, with the intercession of a third country, magusapusap dun (we will talk there). Well, sinabi naman ni President nung last year na wag na dun, umuwi ka na lang dito(Last year, the President said he doesn't want the talks held there. Come to the Philippines), we can talk here. So, we support yung peace talks dito (the peace talks here)," Lorenzana said.

"If you want peace, then let us talk peace. Ang nakikita kasi natin, itong si Sison dahil nakikita niya na successful tayo sa localized peace talks, gusto na naman nilang magpatuloy yun para dun pumunta sa abroad, magceasefire dito para makabawi naman yung tropa nila sa lupa (What we see here is that Sison thinks that because our localized peace talks are successful, they want to push for it so we can go abroad again. Then, there will be another ceasefire so their forces on the ground can regroup). That has always been their tactic before, gusto nila ang (they want) peace talks. Kaya't binigyan lang sila ni Presidente ng konting pagkakataon (That's why the President gave them a slim chance). The door is still open, meron pang (there is still a) slight opening, lumulundag agad siya ng tuwa dahil peace talks na naman (they are jumping again in joy because of the peace talks)," he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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