Sunday, August 26, 2007

Arroyo to pursue local peace talks with Reds

By Michael Lim Ubac - Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines--Impatient over the resistance of Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison to talk peace, the government will pursue “localized” negotiations with the rebels with or without their leader’s cooperation.
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of over the weekend the government will kick-start the stalled talks with the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, through their local commanders across the country.
On Friday, President Macapagal-Arroyo presided over a regional peace assembly in Tagbilaran City where she instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to crush the communist insurgency, the Moro rebellion and “sheer terrorism” by 2010.
The AFP “must evolve a strategy of rapid conclusion to address rebellion, with the National Security Council providing policy direction,” the President said as she unveiled the government’s hard-line template for winning the insurgencies. “I have a specified time-line—three years—to end armed rebellion in the Philippines,” she said. “It’s either get rid of them now, or get rid of them later. Whatever happens, they must be stopped,” she added.
The National Democratic Front, the political arm of the CCP-NPA, has opposed localized peace talks.
A legislator, who asked not to be named, told the Inquirer newspaper on Sunday: “Sison will not give to (Ms Arroyo) but to her successor the glory” of ending the longest-running insurgency in the world.
The amnesty proposal was forged during the two-day Local Peace and Security Assembly (LPSA) for Central Visayas, a gathering of local government, sector leaders and experts to find solutions to security problems in their localities.
LPSA participants presented to Arroyo an action plan to address the communist insurgency which included an offer of amnesty to the rebels and “their legal or aboveground organizations,” a cease-fire, support for localized peace talks, studying the revival of reserve officer training and the adoption of anti-poverty policies.

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