Malacañang on Saturday said it was “disturbed” by recent attacks of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Mindanao, despite the communists’ earlier vow to refrain from launching offensives against state forces.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the several “serious offensives” committed by the communist rebels sow doubts on the merits of pursuing peace negotiations.
“Several recent serious offensives in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country allegedly committed by the [communist]forces further fueled the public’s doubts on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them,” Abella said.
“We are disturbed by the recent NPA attacks, considering that their leaders in Europe issued a statement condemning the incident in Marawi, even offering to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable our government forces to deal with focus on the rebellions still happening,” he added.
On June 17, the military engaged the NPA rebels in a firefight in Cateel, Davao Oriental, which led to the killing of five individuals, including three rebels. On the same day, the military again clashed with the rebels at Pantukan, Compostella Valley.
On June 18, around 40 rebels attacked a police station in Maasin town in Iloilo and took 12 firearms, including eight high-powered rifles.
The Palace official said the government would “decisively” deal with the hostile acts by the NPA, which have an impact on the peace talks.
“These NPA attacks disrupt the conducive and enabling environment indispensable in peacemaking and peace building,” Abella said.
“In the meantime, we will await further validation of these recent incidents and will undertake corresponding and appropriate steps to deal decisively with the situation,” he added.
Peace panels from the government and the communists suspended the fifth round of talks scheduled on May 27 to June 1 following “serious” challenges both parties faced, including the NPA’s “offensive attacks” throughout the country.