ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Edgardo “EdPam” Pamintuan has expressed dismay over the recent attacks in Davao and Quirino by the New People’s Army (NPA).
Pamintuan, adviser of the GRP peace panel, however said that the government will not be deterred by the incidents.
“We are dismayed that although peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)/NPA/National Democratic Front (NDF) are now making some substantial headway, their forces still continue to wage attacks that victimize civilians and inflict damage on the civilian sector,” Pamintuan said.
According to him, the incidents even question the sincerity of the rebels in dealing with the government.
“Although a bilateral ceasefire is not yet in place, the public's common reaction to these incidents questions the sincerity of those whom we talk and deal with across the table,” Pamintuan said.
The public also questions the rebel groups’ capacity to manage and control their forces on the ground, according to the mayor.
“There are even calls now to stop the talks altogether and pursue an all-out military offensive against their armed groups,” he said.
Pamintuan also warned that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) must act to prevent any eventualities.
“There is no doubt at all of our security forces, the AFP and the PNP, with the support of the civilian communities must and can deal with these contingencies,” the mayor said.
Despite these, Pamintuan expressed optimism on the peace process initiated by the government.
“On the other hand, we who are tasked to seek a peaceful and principled settlement must pursue, with more vigor, these peace engagements with the communist rebels. Our expectation is that our unrelenting efforts in addressing the issues, bridging the ideological divide and finding a common ground may eventually pay off and bring about just, sustainable and enduring peace in the land,” Pamintuan said.
He added that “no doubt, the task is not easy, taking every necessary step, but we will continue. We will not yield in our resolve. We will not be deterred.”
Government Peace Panel Chairman Silvestre Bello III and the GRP panel are now preparing for the forthcoming fifth round of talks on May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands, according to Pamintuan.
The working committees of both sides have been meeting continuously in the country for the purpose, he added.
President Duterte's aspiration is to end this tragedy of Filipinos fighting Filipinos,” Pamintuan said.
“While he boldly deals with those who bring harm to the people, his dream is to bring peace through a just and principled settlement with all rebel groups in the land. Let us all close ranks and stay the course with him,” he said.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on May 05, 2017.
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