Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday reiterated his belief that localized peace talks with communist rebels was the better negotiation method following alleged attacks by New People’s Army gunmen despite a ceasefire.
Lacson believed that the attacks proved that the NPA was no longer listening to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison.
“The latest attack on our soldiers by NPA rebels despite the ceasefire simply means that they don’t listen to Joma Sison anymore. Either that, or he cannot and should not be trusted,” the senator said in a Twitter post.
“Localizing the peace talks is still the better way, I think,” he added.
The latest attack on our soldiers by NPA rebels despite the ceasefire simply means that they don’t listen to Joma Sison anymore. Either that, or he cannot and should not be trusted. Localizing the peace talks is still the better way, I think.— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) December 24, 2019
In a text message, Lacson further explained that not all local government units had the same level of intensity as far as the insurgency was concerned, with numerous local government units not even having an insurgency problem.
And even if the problem was present, local officials would have a better appreciation of the insurgency problem in their locality compared to national officials.
"I would say that as long as the parameters of the national government are clearly defined to guide the local officials in dealing with the localized peace talks, and as long as they are adequately supported logistically with some degree of authority to extend livelihood programs to possible rebel returnees, I believe they have a better chance of success than what we have been failing to accomplish for the past several decades,” the senator explained.
Earlier in December, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to fly to The Netherlands to talk with Sison.
On Monday, hours after the ceasefire was declared, a platoon of soldiers pulling out from the field was fired upon by alleged armed communists in Barangay Baay, Labo town in Camarines Norte.
The attackers reportedly opened fire and lobbed an alleged improvised explosive device at the government troops, killing one soldier and injuring six others.
Meanwhile in Tubungan, Iloilo, state security forces on a patrol vehicle were also ambushed by suspected communist rebels. Two cops were injured.
The police officers were also pulling out from the area following the reciprocal ceasefire declared by the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines when a landmine was detonated in Barangay Singon.
AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said this meant that communist leaders like Sison had lost control over the NPA.
GMA News Online sought comment from Sison but he had yet to reply as of posting time. — DVM, GMA News