THE Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (AFP-Centcom) expressed readiness for any eventuality that may occur following the cancellation of the back-channel talks between the government peace panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Colonel Medel Aguilar, Centcom assistant chief of the Unified Command staff for Civil Military Operations, said although they have yet to officially receive a directive from the higher headquarters, Centcom will continue to “stay in defensive posture and conduct security operations.”
“In Central Visayas, we have monitored some movements but not in an alarming level yet. So far, our area remains peaceful,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar said the cancellation of the peace talks will have no great implications.
“We are used to addressing situations like this. With or without peace talks, our security operations will continue because our mandate is to protect the people and the state. It’s up to the other party if they will create trouble because for our part, we are always ready,” Aguilar added.
For peace talks to prosper, members of the CPP-NPA-NDF must do their part, Aguilar said.
Aguilar said insurgency will no longer prosper because the support of the people is now with the military.
He said the fight is no longer about killing but it is about who gets the support of the community.
“We are thankful to the community because we really feel the support,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar explained it is not the government troops who pose a threat to the communists but the development in the community.
Meanwhile, Niño Olayvar, coordinator of Anakbayan Visayas, urged government to resume peace talks.
“The peace talk is a systematic way of resolving the conflict and address the root of the problem,” Olayvar said in Cebuano.
As President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24, the Anakbayan Visayas and other militant groups in Cebu City will also hold a protest.
Cebu based militant groups will march from the Cebu Provincial Capitol to Colon Street in Cebu City and urge President Duterte to resume the peace talks.
“We will remind President Duterte what was his promise last year and that includes his commitment to peace,” Olayvar said.
He said the recent ambush by the NPA on a convoy of Presidential Security Group (PSG) personnel is a reminder to government of the need to continue the peace talks.
“Lahi man gud ang appreciation sa government in terms of peace talks. Dili sila mo proceed og walay ceasefire. Dapat mo sit down g’yud ang government with them and talk what are the problems,” he added.
(The government has a different appreciation of peace talks. They will not proceed unless there is ceasefire. But government should sit down with them and talk what are really the problems.)