Philippine military supportive of localized peace talks with the communists

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Saturday that it supports localized peace talks with the Communists after its declaration of an all-out war against the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), according to the report of The Manila Times Online on Sunday.

“The AFP supports the decision of the president to cancel talks with the CPP, NPA and the NDF, and to go ‘all out’ against the NPA terrorists, said AFP chief of staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero in a statement on Saturday.

However, he said the AFP supports peace initiatives by local elected officials including programs that seek to integrate NPA back to mainstream society.

Guerrero also defended President Rodrigo Duterte after CPP founder Jose Maria Sison’s statement that the president deliberately sabotaged the peace talks.

On Friday, AFP spokesman Maj-Gen Restituto Padilla Jr said peace talks led by local government officials could be the “bright spot” in the peace process.

Duterte on Thursday signed Proclamation 360 terminating the peace talks with the communist rebels, represented by the NDF. He accused the rebels of attacking government forces and civilians and for shaking down industries and extorting money from them to fund their activities.

Duterte also bared plans to declare the NPA a terrorist group and to crack down on its “legal fronts”.