The New People’s Army (NPA) is not ready to negotiate a peace deal with the government, a Palace official said on Saturday.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda made the statement as the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) admitted that the NPA is still a threat to national security.
“The government remains open in pursuing peace talks with them, but the conditions that they’ve created, which is the issuance of JASIG pass to their consultants, is something that we cannot comply with because there is no basis for such list [of consultants],” Lacierda told Radyo ng Bayan.
JASIG is the joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees inked by the two parties dating in 1995.
The National Democratic Front is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA.
Lacierda said the NDF/CPP-NPA camp was asked for a list of their consultants, but instead of giving a list, the rebel camp gave a defective floppy disk that supposedly contained the list of the consultants.
“Since we can’t operate the floppy disk is not working, we cannot have confirmation on who are the consultants and the basis of that list. The government is ready [to negotiate], but the other camp is not yet coming to the negotiating table. In the mean time, our Armed Forces will be ready to defend our country and our people,” he said.
AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said the military called a command conference to assess the military’s performance and the threat posed by various armed groups in the country.
“The CPP-NPA is still the most potent challenge to security, to internal security and peace efforts that we have,” Tutaan said.
“I wouldn’t say it’s biggest threat, but it’s the threat that we have to contend with the reality as far as internal security is concerned,” he added.
The AFP believes that the NPA only has around 4,800 armed members scattered across the country.
The other threat groups are the rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf.
With Anthony Vargas