CPP blasts govt halting of peace talks

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Sunday slammed the government’s cancellation of peace negotiations, saying the decision was made to allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines to mount bigger offensives against the rebel group.

“By calling off the scheduled peace negotiations with the NDFP, Duterte aims to give the AFP more time to complete its military campaign plan for 2018 of mounting bigger offensives under Oplan Kapayapaan in the hope of crippling the NPA and inducing the NDFP to negotiate a surrender,” the CPP said in a statement.

Last week, Duterte unilaterally cancelled the scheduled talks with the National Democratic Front, saying public consultations should first be held. The formal peace negotiations were scheduled on June 28-30.

“This narrow pretext is a thin veil that fails to conceal his real aims,” the CPP said. “Duterte wants the AFP to rush its all-out offensives against the NPA (New People’s Army). The AFP has recruited at least 5,000 troops last year and seeks to add 10,000 more troops until the end of the year. In doing so, Duterte is enabling the AFP to employ Marawi-style tactics of employing an overwhelming force to wage all-out war against civilian populations in order to claim and control their land,” it said.

“Clearly, Duterte does not want the AFP’s military campaign plan disrupted by the peace talks,” the group added.

NDF negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said his group was not remiss since it also held consultations.

“The NDFP has certainly not been remiss in consulting with the public at large, especially the oppressed and exploited classes and sectors of Philippine society,” he said in a statement last week.

AFP chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. reiterated the military’s support to the government’s decision to cancel the peace talks.

“This is because we have proposals, our friends have proposals during the backchannel talks and they have some substantial issues that should be consulted on the ground,” Galvez said in a radio interview over the weekend.

He added that the government is also evaluating the provisions stated under the stand down agreement.

“I think the President is looking for more time to review the provisions,” Galvez said.

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