MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will support another round of peace talks provided some issues in the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) are clarified.
Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), expressed his concern Sunday night, two days before the holiday ceasefire between the government and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) expires midnight of Jan. 7.
“If the government decides to extend the truce, the AFP will comply. It will even support another round of peace talks. But first, the following needs to be clarified, especially on CASER,” he said referring to the CPP’s NDFP’s version of the CASER dated October 23, 2017.
Parlade said under CASER’s National Industrialization and Economic Development, Article VII Financing National Industrialization, Section 1. a calls for the confiscation and expropriation of assets of foreign monopoly capitalists, big compradors, and bureaucrat capitalists.
“This sounds interesting but we are almost certain there will be international repercussions, if not foreign military intervention, in order for foreign governments to protect their interests in the Philippines.,” he added.
He said the AFP cannot defend national interest because CASER also calls for the demobilization of the AFP (Article X: Role of Demobilized GRP Military Personnel).
“What's left of the AFP in the event CASER is implemented are the Engineering Brigades tasked to undertake civil works and infrastructure for industrial development,” said Parlade, who is also AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-MIlitary Operations.
He added that on Page 74 of CASER’s Article IX -- Role of the NPA and the Progressive and Revolutionary Mass Organizations, it is the NPA that will not be demobilized.
“Treachery has always been in the DNA of these terrorist CPP – NPA (New People’s Army) – NDF (National Democratic Front), especially Sison, which brings us to the issue on peace talks and CASER, one of the substantive agenda that the NDFP has been pushing, along with Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), CAPCR, and Comprehensive Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (CACHDF),” he said.
He said on the eve of the termination of the ceasefire, he can almost predict that the terrorist group CPP NPA will most likely attack again AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel.
“They did this in Iloilo and Camarines Norte nine hours after the declaration on Dec. 23,” he said referring to the NPA attacks on a police patrol in Tubungan, Iloilo., and on troopers of the Army’s 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company in Labo town, Camarines on the first day of the holiday ceasefire.
The NPA attacks left at least two policemen wounded in the improvised explosive device (IED) ambush in Iloilo while a soldier was killed and six others were injured in Camarines Norte.
“We are almost certain as a next move that the NDFP will again demand the extension of the Ceasefire, as a confidence-building initiative, despite the fact that the security sector has never felt confident with the truce. What’s with the pattern of treacherous attacks these terrorists commit during the truce,” he added.
The once pale, emaciated, and very weak red fighters of Joma, he said, has regained some strength because of the holiday truce.
“Let’s deal with those issues first and then maybe we can convince the people that these peace talks are worth a try,” Parlade added. (PNA)