LORENZANA: RESUMPTION OF PEACE TALKS WITH REDS SLIM
MANILA -- Chances of reviving the stalled peace talks with communist rebels remain slim as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) continue to commit atrocities and threaten to oust President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Sunday.
"With his (CPP founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison's) threat to oust PRRD and the continuing attacks, extortions and burning of construction equipment I personally don’t see any chance of resumption of talks in the near future. I have consistently said that Sison and his people should also show some sincerity," he said in a message to reporters.
Lorenzana described Sison's call to oust Duterte "hollow" and said the CPP-NPA is losing to the government's anti-insurgency campaign.
"His previous call of prioritizing the ouster of PRRD is a hollow one knowing fully how popular the President remains. But he has to make it ostensibly to rally his fighters," Lorenzana said.
The DND chief said now that Duterte has hinted that peace talks is still possible, Sison is "grasping at thin straws to keep his dream alive."
"But he can dream on. The President has consistently said that he would re-open the talks if he believes there is a compelling reason to do so. The President likewise set some conditions for talks such as: no attacks on government forces and civilians, no extortion, no destruction of properties and talks should be held here in the Philippines, among others," Lorenzana said.
Citing continued attacks by the NPA, Duterte scrapped the negotiations in 2017.
The NPA, the CPP's armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. (PNA)