Bilateral ceasefire needed in peace talks with Reds

MANILA For any peace negotiations with the rebels to push through, a bilateral ceasefire between the government and New People's Army (NPA) forces must take effect.

This was stressed Wednesday by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when asked what ceasefire he wants to be implemented should negotiations with the rebels pushes through.

"Dapat eh walang galawan (there must be no movements), ang (the) ceasefire na gusto namin kaakibat na dyan yung hindi na sila mangungolekta ng kanilang ang tawag nila, (the ceasefire that we want is that they will stop collecting what they call as) revolutionary taxpero ang sabi ko extortion lang yan e (but I consider that as mere extortion), tapos (and then) no attacking government troops, hindi sila mangingidnap ng mga kung sinu-sino gusto nilang kidnapin mga civilian o sundalo at saka hindi na sila mag-aatake ng mga pwersa natin, pulis (they will not kidnap anybody, whoever they want to kidnap, whether civilian or soldier and they won't attack our forces or policemen) and no more expansion of influenced areas nila, kasi yun ang ginagawa nila nung ceasefire nung nakaraan eh (because that was what they did during the last ceasefire), from September to February," he added.

Another mechanism the DND chief wants in place is a system to check and determine forces violating the truce.

The DND chief also reiterated that the NPAs are the primary cause of underdevelopment in the countryside due to unprovoked attacks against engineering contractors.

"They have been the cause of some underdevelopment in the countryside because of their presence there, tinatakot nila yung mga (they are threatening the) contractors, kinukutongan nila (they are extorting money from them), sinusunog nila yung mga (they are burning their) equipment so they are the threat actually, kung wala sila matagal na tayong umangat eh (without them, we would have been able to achieve development)," Lorenzana stressed.

However, should the NPA show good faith in the peace talks, the DND chief said that he is willing to drop proposals to tag them as terror organization.

"Tingnan natin kung ano yung magiging (Let's see what will be the) result nitong (of these) talks about resuming the peace talks kasi kung makikipag-usap tayo sa kanila e hindi naman siguro makatarungan na (because if we will talk to them, I don't think it's right that) we will tag them as terrorist, sa akin ha (that's my opinion)," Lorenzana stressed.

Source: Philippine News Agency