DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) urged the New People’s Army (NPA) to carry out successful tactical offensives against military troops to “compel or persuade” the government to resume peace negotiations.
“What the NPA can do in order to compel or persuade the GRP to resume the peace negotiations is to carry out successfully the announced plan of the CPP to intensify tactical offensives against armed units of the AFP, PNP and auxiliary forces and to punish notorious human rights violators, local tyrants, land grabbers, drug lords and other notorious criminals,” Sison said in a statement on February 4.
He maintained, “With or without Duterte as president, the GRP will decide to negotiate peace when the people´s war can inflict larger casualties on enemy troops.”
Sison warned that the NPA can eliminate at least 510 troops equivalent to five companies every month nationwide. With the communist rebels present in 17 regions, they can launch continuous tactical offensives killing at least one soldier ever day per region.
The communist leader made such statement after NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were arrested on January 31 in Quezon City in a joint operation of the police and military.
Baylosis and Guillermo’s counsel, the Public Interest Law Center, said there was “no factual and legal basis” for the arrest. For one, they said Baylosis had posted bail in August 2016 at a court in Manila while the charge of illegal possession of firearms and explosives is fabricated “after a hand grenade was added by police in the evidence against him.”
Sison said the arrest of NDFP consultants like Baylosis who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) is “extremely provocative”.
However, he urged the CPP-NPA not to retaliate adding it is better “to keep open” the possibility of resuming the talks rather than violate the said agreement and “undermine confidence” in the peace negotiations.
“As NDFP Chief political consultant I advice the NDFP to recommend to the CPP and NPA to respect the JASIG as a solemn agreement that protects the negotiating personnel of both the NDFP and GRP. The GRP side, especially Duterte, should cease and desist from arresting NDFP negotiating personnel and from violating the JASIG,” Sison said.
Earlier, Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao warned that the unabated arrest of NFDP consultants like Baylosis might prompt the NPA to retaliate and also arrest GRP peace consultants.
But Sison explained Casilao was “honest and well-intentioned” when he raised concern and “he is actually pressing Duterte to respect the JASIG.” (davaotoday.com)