MANILA Despite President Rodrigo R. Duterte's willingness to resume peace talks with communist rebels, the administration's petition to tag the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist group will stay.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra made this remark a day after Duterte said that he would be happy to resume peace talks as long as the NPA stops its attacks.
Guevarra said that the resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels would be subjected to preconditions, which include the government's demand for the communist rebels to lay down their arms.
For now, that statement by the President, which is premised on certain preconditions, will not affect in anyway the pending petition for the proscription of certain individuals as terrorists or violators of the Human Security Act, Guevarra said in a Palace briefing.
Guevarra explained that the terrorist tag stays because in the first place, peace negotiations have not even resumed yet.
For as long as the legal requirements under the Human Security Act are met, then the government will pursue its proscription action against these people, Guevarra said, regardless if some members of the NPA are peace consultants for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The CPP's political arm is the NDFP, while its armed wing is the NPA.
I know that the President always thinks about nationwide peace, lasting peace and if reopening peace talks could help, why not? Guevarra said, when pressed on what prompted the Chief Executive to express willingness to resume peace negotiations.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza earlier said that the presence of an enabling environment will be the sole determining factor to the resumption of peace talks.
Duterte started formal peace talks the NDFP shortly after he became President in 2016 but canceled them November last year amid continued attacks of the NPA on government forces.
Duterte issued a proclamation classifying the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization in December last year.
Source: Philippine News Agency