Resuming peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) would depend on the sincerity of the communists and on their agreeing to a ceasefire, the Philippine Army said on Wednesday.
The NDF is an umbrella organization that counts as members among others the Communist Party of the Philippines and the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva, Army spokesman, said the Army has always campaigned for peaceful settlement of issues between the NDF and the government.
“It [resumption of the peace talks]depends on the sincerity of these people [in the NDF]because as far as the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is concerned, especially us, the Philippine Army, we are the forces on the ground,” Villanueva added.
“In the first place, it’s always us who are in the [arena]of conflict. We are the ones being greatly affected and if these [peace negotiations]will be pursued anew, it will be a good condition,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said in a speech in Pasay City that he may reconsider termination of peace talks with the Left.
But he said the reconsideration to resume the peace negotiations would depend on the NPA agreeing to a ceasefire first.
In December last year, the President signed Proclamation 360 officially terminating the peace negotiations with the NDF.
Days later, he signed another proclamation tagging the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.
Earlier last year, Duterte canceled the talks over an NPA ambush of a convoy of the Presidential Security Group in Arakan, North Cotabato, in southern Mindanao.
Villanueva said the communists “are the ones destroying the process and we are the ones abiding with the rules prescribed by the peace negotiations.”