Gov’t aiming for permanent truce in talks with Reds
() - February 11, 2004 - 12:00am
Government peace negotiators are hoping that the ongoing peace talks in Oslo, Norway would end 35 years of communist rebellion in the Philippines.

"We will attempt to get the (National Democratic Front) to commit that this process will lead to a permanent cessation of hostilities," chief government peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said upon arriving in Oslo Monday night.

"If we get the commitment (permanent cessation of hostilities), our people can now sleep soundly in the next 10 to 20 years.

"We still face so many uncertainties, very contentious issues, but this time our level of confidence is higher because of the strong push given by our President."

On the other hand, communist rebels see "concrete results" coming out of the peace talks with the government.

Rebel spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal said he agrees with President Arroyo that no time frame is needed for the talks to lead to a peace agreement.

"Indeed, solutions to the roots of the current civil war should not be shortchanged by unrealistic shortcuts," he said in a statement e-mailed to The STAR.

Rosal said that the basic issues have to be identified, and each of them must be thoroughly discussed and resolved.

"We cannot just gloss over the fact that the orientation and program of government of the CPP-NDF-NPA and of the present government remain in basic opposition and need to be painstakingly threshed out down to their fundamentals," he said.

"The study and resolution of many complex and historically and socially rooted defects of the ruling system that have caused the suffering of the vast majority of the Filipino people for centuries now cannot be cramped into four short months and will certainly spill over to the next term of the presidency, whoever will win."

Rosal also said the government and rebel panels would arrive at concrete agreements that can be realistically implemented before the May 10 elections.

"Many agreements in the past need to be reaffirmed, their violations checked and their implementation ensured," he said.

In Nueva Ecija, troops led by 2nd Lt. Terence Ylanan arrested a New People’s Army amazon accused of murder and kidnapping during a raid in a house in Barangay Parista, Lupao town last Monday.

Tessie Abellera, alias Ka Aniway, was arrested about 6:45 p.m. on the strength of a court-issued warrant, said Maj. Gen. Cristolito Balaoing, commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

Abellera was involved, along with one Aging Castillo, in several kidnappings in Nueva Ecija and the killing of Honorio Gonzaga, 54, on June 6 last year, said Col. Jovenal Narcise, commander the Army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade.

Castillo has remained at large, he added.

Gonzaga was reportedly killed because he was suspected to be a civilian asset of the military.

Narcise said Abellera did not resist when troops came to arrest her, and that she was not carrying any firearm.

Abellera’s name is listed among the members of the barangay party committee under front No. 1 of the Nueva Ecija provincial party committee, he added.

Abellera, who is now in police custody, is detained in the provincial jail after being questioned by military investigators.

Government and rebel peace negotiators started talks in Oslo Tuesday, with the Norwegian Government acting as host and facilitator.

A breakthrough in the impasse took place last month after Bello and NDF panel chairman Luis Jalandoni issued a joint statement declaring their intention to resume the peace process.

The joint statement was a product of a series of "back-channel" talks initiated by the government with self-exiled communist rebel leaders in Europe led by Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and chief political consultant of the rebel panel.

Peace talks were "indefinitely" suspended by Mrs. Arroyo in mid-2001 after NPA hit men killed Representatives Rodolfo Aguinaldo of Cagayan and Marcial Punzalan of Quezon Province.

Earlier efforts to resume the talks were grounded after the "terrorist" tag by the US and other foreign governments on the CPP-NPA and Sison, following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

As provided in the Bello-Jalandoni joint statement, Malacañang has agreed to renounce the "terrorist" label on the rebel movement as an intrusion into the country’s domestic affairs and internal conflicts. Marvin Sy, Bong Fabe, Ding Cervantes, Benjie Villa, Artemio Dumlao, Roel Pareño

ABELLERA AGING CASTILLO ARTEMIO DUMLAO BARANGAY PARISTA BENJIE VILLA BONG FABE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES GOVERNMENT NUEVA ECIJA PEACE
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