Commies invited to negotiating table as NPA releases 4 cops PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:59

Secretary Teresita Deles, President Benigno Aquino’s presidential adviser on the government peace process, on Wednesday invite the communist rebels to come to the negotiating table “to find common solutions to our problems in peaceful dialogue as Filipinos first and foremost.”

Deles’ invitation came after guerrillas of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), released on Tuesday afternoon four policemen whom they seized following an attack on a police station in Alegria town, Surigao del Norte on July 10.

Two other policemen were killed and three wounded in the same attack.

“After 12 days of intense negotiations initiated by the (National Democratic Front) NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos and marked by goodwill and a spirit of compromise between the governmnet and the NDF, the New People’s Army safely released this (Tuesday) afternoon the four captive policemen they had abducted when they attacked a police outpost in a remote area in Surigao del Norte earlier this month.  The four policemen were picked up in a mountainous village in the adjacent Agusan del Norte province by a group of multi-religious leaders who served as third-party negotiators for the release of the captives. They were joined by AGov. Angel Amante of Agusan del Norte and other local government executives,” said Deles in a press statement.

She revealed that for the purpose of the release, the Philippine military and the NPA agreed to separately issue a Suspension of Military Offensives (SOMO) to their respective forces for a period of five days starting at noon on July 27, and ending at noon on August 1.

The released policemen were received by Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas who immediately escorted them to their waiting families.

“We are grateful to all the local leaders and sectors without whose goodwill and cooperation the success of this important undertaking would not have been possible.  The outburst of intense relief and joy at the reunion of the freed young officers with their families, all with very young children, was the immediate and heartfelt reward for everyone’s efforts,” Deles said.

In releasing the captive policemen, the NPA announced that they had taken this action as a goodwill gesture to promote the peace negotiations.

“In the face of the difficult challenges that have confronted this particular peace table, the government has remained firm in its commitment to pursue a peaceful resolution to this long drawn-out armed conflict.  We reiterate our openness and serious intent to pursue peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF on the basis of a time-bound and doable agenda.  We believe that our people deserve nothing less from the two parties than that they resume peace talks which can offer a clear roadmap to a just and doable political settlement,” said the peace adviser.

Since March 1969, the NPA has been waging one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies in the country, which - according to the military - has claimed more than 3,000 lives over the past eight years. It has been involved in killings involving personalities participating in counter insurgency activities.

After some 10 years of relative silence, the communist group in the Philippines resurfaced in the middle of 2000 staging deadly ambushes against army soldiers and policemen, and resuming its fund raising campaign by collecting “revolutionary tax” on businessmen and politicians.

On late May this year , the Philippine National Police headquarters released a report that it is investigating  its Firearms and Explosives (FEO)  regarding 1,004 unaccounted for AK-47 assault rifles  that were supposedly acquired by mining firms and security agencies, but found their way in the hands of communist rebels in Mindanao island.

Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) had said that they are investigating and preparing to file a case against seven retired and incumbent police generals over the missing firearms.

The CIDG’s probe revealed the rifles ended up in the hands of guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA).       Magalong said 5 of the rifles have since been recovered, following encounters between the Philippine Army and the NPA. Other firearms seized after the encounter could not be traced back to the missing AK-47s since they had already been tampered with.

Aside from six provinces in Mindanao island, the NPA’s other strongholds are in Philippine north and in Panay island and Masbate province in Central Philippines.