Any peace negotiation that would be entered into by the Philippine government and communist rebels should be held inside the country, Malacañang stated on Monday, June 18.
“The President emphasized that this is a talk between Filipinos, it should be held in the Philippines,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a Palace press briefing, in line with the government’s pronouncement to move the scheduled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Hindi naman po kinakailangan pa na mangibang-bayan para makipag-usap kapayapaan lamang,” Roque added.
He said the money to be spent for negotiations in Norway could be put to better use in providing for the needs of the CPP-NPA while the peace talks are ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet official clarified that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has not given up on the peace process with the Reds, stressing that he has always given priority to peace negotiations with both Muslim and Communist insurgents.
Roque said the President just wanted to make sure that any agreement with the CPP-NPA would be all-inclusive and would pass the tests of both legal and political scrutiny.
“The delay, thus, in the talks with the CPP-NPA is indispensible if we are to have an agreement that will pass these tests,” he noted.
To prove the government’s commitment to push through with the negotiation, Roque said President Duterte has directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file necessary motions in court to free individuals who are expected to participate in the talks.
“Of course, there’s information that these individuals cannot be located anymore even if they did not leave the country for Oslo, Norway… Nonetheless, the President says he will give the process a chance,” he cited.
Roque further reiterated the President’s assurance to CPP founding Chairman Jose Ma. Sison that he would guarantee his security should he decide to come home to the Philippines to take part in the peace talks.
On the other hand, the Palace Spokesperson confirmed that there is no stand-down agreement yet between the government and the communist rebels.
Roque said the documents released by the National Democratic Front (NDF) showing the reported progress of the peace talks are yet to be authenticated.
“Wala pong stand-down agreement. Anyway wala pa naman pong resumption of peace talks. I’m sure kung magkakaroon po ng resumption of peace talks, that will be considered,” he noted, as he appealed to the Reds to refrain from preempting the government in making announcements concerning the developments in the peace agreement.
Palace: Duterte’s anti-tambay drive a crime prevention initiative
During the same press briefing, Malacañang said the Duterte administration’s “anti-tambay” drive is simply a government initiative to prevent crimes in the country through increased police visibility.
“It’s really police visibility and trying to take steps to ensure that the public knows that the police is present, and that if they are engaged in any conspiracy to commit crimes, nandiyan po ang ating kapulisan,” Secretary Roque clarified.
The Spokesperson allayed fears that the “anti-tambay” campaign would lead to the illegal detention of innocent Filipinos.
He assured the public that established mechanisms are put in place in order to protect the people against unlawful arrests. ### (PCO-Content)