MANILA -- With many New People's Army (NPA) fighters and their supporters voluntarily surrendering, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed confidence that the localized peace talks being pushed for by the government would succeed.
"The AFP is confident that the local peace talks will be successful. It's going to work. Why? Because the grounds for joining the communist NPA terrorists have been addressed locally. Karamihan sa issues na nire-raise nila (Many of the issues they raise) could be best addressed locally," military spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said late Thursday.
The AFP earlier announced that NPA forces nationwide are on the decline as about 7,531 rebels and other supporters have been neutralized from Jan. 1 to June 28 this year.
This can be broken down into 71 killed, 114 captured, and 7,346 who have voluntarily surrendered.
"We will vigorously recommend and pursue the ongoing localized peace talks despite all sorts of tactics that the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front) are resorting (to), to discredit the local peace talks," Arevalo added.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will issue an executive order for the localized peace talks should talks between the government and the CPP fail to materialize.
Roque said the guiding framework for localized peace talks has been approved during a special cluster meeting of the security, justice and peace committees in MalacaAang Palace.
The meeting was attended by the President, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and some members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency