MANILA–Unless the New People’s Army (NPA) shows its sincerity by stopping needless attacks on businesses that refuse to give in to their extortion demands, there is no reason for the government to agree with the rebels’ call for a unilateral ceasefire.
This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año Sunday.
In the same vein, the NPAs used the previous ceasefire –lifted last February after a wave of unprovoked attacks –to undertake more extortion activities at the expense of legitimate business and peace-loving citizens.
Since the termination of peace negotiations last Februay 4, the AFP has recorded more than 60 incidents of arson perpetrated by the rebel group, prompting the military to conduct operations against the NPAs.
“We have a mandate to follow and that is to protect our people,” Año stressed.
“For the peace talks to succeed, we have to see more sincerity on their part,” he added.
The AFP chief said the rebels’ constant extortion activities and attacks on legitimate businesses are among the primary causes of the Philippines’ poverty and underdevelopment problems.
“We now see the concrete manifestation of the evil in our society that has been a major cause of underdevelopment, the anti-development and anti-people activities of the NPA. We must join hands and collectively work to end all these so we can protect change for the better. As a people, we must all work to have a nation worthy of all Filipinos and Filipinos worthy of the nation,” Año adedd.