The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will not automatically disband its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), when it signs a peace agreement with the government, one of the left's lawyer-consultants said Tuesday.
Atty. Rachel Pastores, senior legal consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), told ANC's Headstart she sees no reason for the NPA to disband, unless the root causes of their armed struggle are resolved.
She said, although the government and communist rebels may agree on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and the Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR), "there’s a need to see to it that these agreements are really implemented."
"Meaning, that these agreements would really make the country move to [being] an economically developed country because that is the only way that the armed struggle would be resolved, because the root cause of the armed struggle would be resolved through economic development," she added.
"Until that happens, I think that there is no reason for the NPA to really lay down their arms if the root cause of the armed conflict is not yet resolved even though there is already an agreement," she said.
She added, the armed communist rebels may be given a role in the implementation of the agreement on socio-economic reforms.
"I think the NPA could be given a role in the implementation or [they can] see to it that the CASER is really implemented and brings about genuine economic development in our country because in that way, the root cause of the armed conflict would be resolved, which is ending poverty," she said.
Pastores underscored that if the government is "really willing" after signing the agreements, "they should implement it, and if they’re willing to implement it, then it must not be that tedious."
"The signing of the peace agreement itself will not automatically solve the root cause of the armed conflict because there’s another step, which is the implementation," she said.