NPA not really interested in peace: AFP

MANILA -- The New People's Army (NPA) rebels never did really aspire for peace, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Tuesday.

"The government has done all it could to attain a much sought-after just and sustainable peace throughout our country. Despite the numerous show of sincerity and compromises of the government, it is apparent that the CPP-NPA-NDF never aspired for peace but merely use it as an opportunity to fulfill its selfish ends," Padilla said when sought for a comment after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front a terrorist organization.

He further said the terror tag declaration is also an offshoot of the termination of peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF by virtue of Proclamation 360, which was signed by the Chief Executive last November 23.

"This proclamation clearly classifies and labels the group for what they really are and will simplify military and law enforcement operations as efforts against lawless elements and enemies of the state," the AFP spokesperson added.

Padilla said the declaration would ensure that the AFP could now fully execute and perform its mandate without reservation and restrictions.

"Having said that, the AFP's focused military operations will now become even more precise, simple and effective. We can now address without any hesitation and with all the means and resources available to us the increasing criminal and economic sabotage activities of these terrorists," he added.

Padilla emphasized that AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero had ordered troops not to let their guard down and be relentless in pursuing the enemy that had been the source of much suffering of Filipinos in the countryside.

"He also added that we must work hand in hand with all agencies of our government to ensure the services our countrymen need reach them," he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency