Palace to Reds: Cease hostilities first before peace talks continue

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Palace to Reds: Cease hostilities first before peace talks continue

In this March 21, 2018 photo, masked protesters from the outlawed "Kabataang Makabayan," Patriotic Youths group march during a rally to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels should stop their hostile activities against civilians and state troops if they want to resume peace negotiations with the government, Malacañang insisted Tuesday.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that there must be a “genuine sincerity” on the part of the Communist Party of the Philippines-The New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, whom he accused of having penchant for “double talk and treachery.”

“They must cease their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces; end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings; lay down their arms and return to the fold of law and restart to live normal lives,” he said.

The Palace statement came days after 61 members of the House of Representatives signed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to resume peace talks with communist rebels

READ: Resume peace negotiations with Reds, Kaparatan asks Duterte 

Roque, moreover, insisted that Duterte’s commitment to peace “has always been clear and consistent.

This is despite Duterte’s expressions of readiness to wage war against communist guerrillas before formally scrapping the talks through Proclamation 360 last November.

Two weeks later, the chief executive proclaimed CPP and its armed wing NPA as terrorist groups.

The presidential spokesperson claimed that even without peace talks, the government’s efforts at forging peace with communist rebels are making progress, citing the surrender of NPA members.

READ: Duterte, AFP: More NPA rebels surrendering to government 

CPP, however, dismissed the government’s claim.

“And as with most other things under Duterte, reality is the complete opposite of what he declares the truth to be. That there are thousands of ‘NPA surrenderees’ is a complete hoax,” it said in a statement.

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