MANILA 一 Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza on Wednesday said he was dismayed to continue waging of attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) despite efforts made by the Duterte administration to put an end to the almost five-decade of insurgency.
The NPA, the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines -National Democratic Front (NDF) “continue to wage attacks that victimize innocent civilians and inflict damage on the civilian sector,” Dureza said.
“Although a bilateral ceasefire is not yet in place, the public’s common reaction to these incidents questions the sincerity of those whom we talk and deal with across the table. The public also questions their capacity to manage and control their forces on the ground,” Dureza said in a press statement.
According to Dureza, there are even calls now to stop the talks altogether and pursue an all-out military offensive against their armed groups.
“There is no doubt at all that our security forces — the AFP and the PNP — with the support of the civilian communities must and can deal with these contingencies,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, he said, “we who are tasked to seek a peaceful and principled settlement must pursue, with more vigor , these peace engagements with the communist rebels.”
“Our expectation is that our unrelenting efforts in addressing the issues, bridging the ideological divide and finding a common ground may eventually pay off and bring about just, sustainable and enduring peace in the land,” he said.
He admitted that there was no doubt, the task was not easy, taking every necessary step, but they would continue.
“We will not yield in our resolve. We will not be deterred,” he noted.
Peace Panel chairman Secretary Silvestre Bello III said his panel was now preparing for the forthcoming 5th round of talks on May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands.
The working committees of both sides have been meeting continuously in the country for the purpose.
He said President Duterte’s aspiration is to end this tragedy of Filipinos fighting Filipinos.
“While he boldly deals with those who bring harm to the people, his dream is to bring peace through a just and principled settlement with all rebel groups in the land. Let us all close ranks and stay the course with him,” Bello.