Philippines criticises communist rebels for peace deal snub

Philippines government’s negotiator involved in talks with communist rebels denies claims that outgoing President Aquino rejected peace deal in 2014

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Philippines slams leftist rebels for ‘peace deal snub.'

Philippines government head mediating talks with the country'’s communist uprising criticised its negotiating body on Friday for releasing half-truths” to cover up its “atrocities."

Alex Padilla have dismissed comments by the chief mediator of the National Democratic Front (NDF), Luis Jalandoni, adding that President Benigno Aquino III had rejected a peace agreement between the government and the communist rebels in 2014.

“He’s [Jalandoni’s] not telling the whole story… There was no peace deal,” Padilla said.

He insisted that private individuals considered “friends of the process” had shuttled between the sides to “explore possible parameters for restarting the talks at the earliest possible time.”

The Philippine government had been studying a proposed deal and preparing to talk it with the NDF when a botched raid in Jan. 2015 resulted in deadly fighting between soldiers and Muslim rebels according to Padilla.

The incident had put the Muslim majority parts of southern Mindanao Island at risk, delaying the passing of an autonomy law that was recently blocked after congress adjourned for election campaigns.

Padilla said that after the “private group” travelled to Utrecht in the Netherlands where some Philippine communist leaders are in self-imposed exile, they returned back with a new proposal from the NDF with stronger demands.

Some conditions for the resumption of peace talks included the release of hundreds of the detained leaders and members of the movement, as well as the dismissal of cases against their accused consultant.

“With the NDF asserting even more than its usual demands, like many other initiatives undertaken in the past to explore the resumption of the talks, that one also did not pan out,” Padilla said.

He accused the NDF, which negotiates on behalf of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), of resorting this strategy “to use the peace process to get as many concessions as they can from government without giving anything in return."

He added that the government had tried to resume negotiations twice last year “based on proposals offered by our Norwegian facilitator to the parties, but to no avail."

The NPA has been waging one of Asia’s longest running conflicts since 1969, mainly in the poorest regions of the Philippines.

In the last eight years alone, the insurgency has killed 40,000 people, according to government figures.

Peace talks between government and rebels resumed in Feb. 2011 about eight months into Aquino’s term, after talks were suspended in 2005. 

TRTWorld, AA