Ceasefire ‘unacceptable’

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE broader ceasefire agreement being proposed by Presidential Peace Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. with communist rebel group is bound to be rejected by the National Democratic Front (NDF) panel, branding the offer as “unjustified and unacceptable.”

This was the response made by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, a former NDF adviser, after the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) panel would call under the broader truce a stop on New People’s Army’s (NPA) alleged extortion activities, attacks on cell sites of telecommunication firms, construction and mining sites, landmine attacks, kidnappings, killings and the recruitment of minors.

Ocampo said Esperon’s suggestion for a broader ceasefire when a new round of informal discussions pushes through in Norway later this month is tantamount to admitting that the NPA is indeed allegedly involved in illegal activities.

“The way the GRP panel ceasefire proposal is stated, it looks like it is aimed to be rejected by the NDF. Why? Because if it is accepted, it would be interpreted that the NDF admits the extortion (activities) , etc. as alleged by GRP,” Ocampo said.

But Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon said the Communist Party of the Philippines- NPA-NDF should cooperate with the proposal of Esperon in order to reopen the peace talks again.

“I would support moves to entice the CPP-NPA-NDF to go into peace negotiations. I think this is a move that should be pursued by the government,” Biazon, a vice chairman of the House committee on national defense, said in a separate talk.

In a related development, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara even asked the government to also include insurgents in Mindanao in their proposal to talk broader scope of peace negotiations.

In his proposal, Esperon said the alleged atrocities of NPA were “very, very grave” despite its supposed position that the group is pro-people, adding that the rebels kill three people every week based on military data.

Esperon said the government is considering allowing its panel headed by Nieves Confessor to proceed to Oslo for the talks but the agenda is still fixing or being discussed.