MANILA – Local law enforcement agencies can already act to address incidents that disrupt peace in their areas allegedly committed by members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), even with a unilateral ceasefire in place, according to the President's peace adviser.
“Itong mga incidents na ito - they can be covered by regular law enforcement operations of our police and our military…di kailangang mag antay. Incidents like those, disruption of the peace, protecting the civilians are not at all constrained by what we now call a unilateral ceasefire,” said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.
Just recently, unidentified men who allegedly introduced themselves as NPA rebels torched a passenger bus in Tantangan in South Cotabato.
“Yung panununog na yan, kapag may bilateral ceasefire na tayo, we can already bring this up with them,” Dureza said in an interview on DZMM on Tuesday.
Dureza said they are done with the second round of the peace process in Norway in October and are already planning for the next round in January 2017. The initial resumption of the peace talks was held last August.
“Right now, we're working on a possible transition from a unilateral ceasefire to a bilateral ceasefire para mayroong mechanisms in place to make them sustainable, and that kung may issues while ceasefire is ongoing, meron tayong mechanisms to address all these reports on the ground,” he explained.
The government is also tasked to raise the issue of the so-called revolutionary taxes that NPA rebels exact from local businessmen.
“Pero yung ibang sinasabi nilang incidents, involving so-called demands for so-called revolutionary taxes and pag di nagbayad nanununog, these will of course be taken up when we already establish the mechanisms. Sa ngayon, wala pa po. All we can do probably is to relay this to them across the table on a very informal basis dahil ang peace negotiations natin will be done pa on the third week of January."