Peace talks with NDFP combine suspended again. Four PSG commandos injured in ambush. Sincerity and stoppage of extortion required from NDFP.

Peace requires sincerity from NDFP.

PICS:Davao Today and

PICS:Davao Today and

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The reds are notorious for holding talks on peace while extracting their pound of flesh. It has become amply clear that they are unable to give up the fruits of extortion so easily.
Hence, it always boils down to just keep the government busy with talks while continuing extortion and attacks. The administration cannot just give up the talks permanently; it is duty bound to seek peace.
Yet, whenever there is a violent attack, talks are suspended. But, diplomacy demands that they return back to the negotiating table.

This time around, the President called off peace talks on Wednesday due to another attack by the NPA rebels. The attack was audacious since the target was the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
Four Presidential guards sustained injuries when the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked them in North Cotabato province.

The President held a meeting on Tuesday with the governmental peace panel to plan the strategy for peace talks. The possibility of arriving at a bilateral ceasefire agreement came up for discussion.

But, the attack by the NPA rebels caused the President to call off the talks. He met the government peace panel and directed them to discontinue talks till the attacks stopped.

Thus, the peace talks will not be resuming till the reds offer some concrete solutions. What the government is looking for is a total cessation of hostilities. The attacks on government troops in Mindanao are a constant source of irritation.

Hence, talks by the governmental panel and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will remain suspended.

Furthermore, the NPA will have to give up extortion and suspend all offensive operations against the Police and the military. Therefore, back-channel talks will remain the only point of contact with the NDFP.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will lead the governmental peace panel. They will discuss the resumption of formal negotiations.

However, Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process also called off the back-channel parleys. These unofficial talks were scheduled in Europe. The incident at Arakan, North Cotabato was the last straw for the President.

Fake checkpoint

The convoy of two vehicles was carrying the PSG personnel as per Brig. Gen. Louie Dagoy, PSG commander. They were proceeding from Davao City to Cagayan de Oro.

On the way, they came across a checkpoint at Arakan, North Cotabato.

It looked like a checkpoint of the Davao Task Force with about 50 troops in military uniforms. However, the ever alert commandoes detected some flaws in their getup.

The wet shoes of the NPA activists posing as army men gave away their true identity. The PSG driver made a dash towards safety but four soldiers sustained bullet wounds.

However, the injuries were not critical. Furthermore, the trip was a routine replenishment of PSG personnel; no VIP movement was underway.

Police agent taken hostage

NPA sources confirmed the incident while claiming that they were holding a hostage. However, they claimed that he was a police agent. Ernesto Abella, Presidential spokesperson strongly condemned Wednesday’s attack.

Ernesto Abella, exhorted the reds to show genuine sincerity if they wanted peace to prevail. For this, they need to display the same commitment as the Duterte administration. Only then could there be the everlasting peace that the masses wanted, he said.
If terrorism is to be eradicated, the CPP/NPA/NDFP combine must stop its criminal activities in Mindanao, Abella asserted.
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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Thursday, July 20, 2017