Communist rebels, who believe holding the peace talks in the Philippines, is a “recipe for destruction,” are using the lull in the negotiations to regroup, recruit new members and acquire new weapons for their offensive against the government, the military said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said the information was culled from documents recovered captured during past encounters with the New People’s Army.
“Based on records we seized from the CPP-NPA Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, these documents indicate they are taking advantage of the peace negotiations to recruit new members, to regroup and to refurbish themselves,” he added.
Arevalo stressed these findings only confirmed what the CPP-NPAs’ true motive in demanding for peace negotiations was.
“And I quote, they resort to peace negotiations as another form of legal struggle, which is possible to be used to advance their revolutionary mass movement,” he added.
Elsewhere, Rey Casambre, identified as a consultant for the negotiating panel of the rebels, referred to what he called potential harm on fellow consultants and members of the National Democratic Front such as arrests and military surveillance.
He said holding the peace negotiations in the Philippines would be a “recipe for destruction.”
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, said Norway could still have a role in the peace talks, but stressed third parties need not be abroad to facilitate the talks.
Arevalo said, in short, while the rebels were negotiating for peace they were using this as an opportunity to strengthen their combat forces, the AFP spokesperson said.
Arevalo said the strong desire of the CPP-NPA to talk peace could be the offshoot of the mass surrenders of their guerrilla fighters and supporters, along with their weapons and equipment, in the past months.
Meanwhile, the public deserves to know various provisions contained in any peace agreement done with the rebels.
This is the reason why the AFP supports the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to postpone the resumption of the peace talks with the CPP which was scheduled for June 28.
Arevalo said this move was in line with efforts to provide the public more opportunities to engage in the peace process.
“Let us remember that any peace agreement that government enters into especially with group like the CPP-NPA [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army] that continues to sow chaos in the countryside needs to be acceptable to the people, peace is a public concern, the public deserves to know what are the provisions or the matters contained in every agreement, because this group, the CPP-NPA burns farm implement, they continue to extort huge amounts of money from businesses and they harassed the communities,”Arevalo noted.
He added the President’s move would give more time for the consultation of the public on the items arrived at by the parties during the back-channel talks.
“[With this], we ensure that the substance of the talks has the support of the people. And we are not only one, we are not alone in supporting that decision of the President, even Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Secretary of the Department of National Defense, even the Presidential Adviser (for the Peace Process) Secretary Jesus Dureza, they all support this decision of the President. Even Senate minority floor leader Sen. Franklin Drilon supported the President and even went on by saying that it is high time that the peace talks be held in our soil, because (it would establish that) the CPP-NPA (is dealing with) the Government of the Philippines,” Arevalo said.