Palace urges Reds to stop attacks for peace talks

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2019 01:04 PM

MANILA- Malacañang urged communist rebels on Monday to refrain from staging attacks to pave the way for the resumption of peace negotiations with the government.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo frowned upon the attack reportedly carried out by the New People's Army in Eastern Samar last week that left at least 3 people dead.

"Syempre, ayaw natin yun. Kung gusto talaga nilang makipag-usap eh dapat tigilan na nila yung mga ginagawa nila," Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.

(Of course, we don't want that. If they really want to talk then they should stop those kind of activities.)

A police officer and a woman were killed in the ambush on a police mobile in Barangay Libuton, Borongan City. Another police officer was hurt, along with 3 children. 

The incident attributed to the NPA, the communist movement's armed wing, happened just days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the government's willingness to resume peace talks with the rebels.

Panelo said continued attacks by communist rebels may cast doubts on their sincerity to resume peace negotiations.

"When you do that (attacks), your sincerity is in question with respect to peace talks," he said.

Former chief negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III last week said the Philippine government might restart stalled peace talks with communist rebels next month after the 2 sides iron out several "goodwill measures."

Exiled communist leader Joma Sison agreed to a "face to face meeting" with President Rodrigo Duterte, said Bello.

He, however, noted that the government and rebels have yet to agree on the negotiation's venue and "goodwill measures" including the release of arrested communist consultants and a unilateral ceasefire that could take effect on Dec. 20 or 21.