NSA: Reds' terror tag stays until final peace settlement reached

By Priam Nepomuceno

November 29, 2023, 2:50 pm

<p>National Security Adviser Eduardo Año <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The government's terror tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its allies will remain until a final peace settlement is reached between the two parties, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said Wednesday.

"Hindi yan kara-karaka pupwede i-grant, kailangan may proseso yan so ang stand din naman natin, willing na sila (It cannot be easily granted. It has to go through a process so our stand there is that they must be willing) to abandon the armed struggle. So kung ganun yung mindset nila at sincere sila (If that is their mindset and they are sincere about it), we can proceed with the negotiation, that will come into place and then, kumbaga parang one time na yan na may amnesty, final peace settlement so lahat maga-grant (it's like a one-time grant of an amnesty, once there is a final peace settlement, all of these would be granted)," Año said in a phone interview.

Año's remarks came in response to the NDF's demand for the removal of its terrorist tag by the government's Anti-Terrorism Council in June 2021.

The Philippine government and NDF agreed to a “principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict” through the signing of a joint statement in Oslo, Norway on Nov. 23.

Año said they have grown wary of past peace negotiations with the communist movement and its allies where they imposed many demands from the government, including the release of its jailed leaders.

"Ayaw naman natin maulit yung mga nakaraan na ang dami nilang demand na hinihingi tapos wala pang pag-uusap, ang nangyari e kita mo naman yung history yung mga ni-release hindi na bumalik, nasa bundok na, so ganun yung mga apprehensions natin (We don't want a repeat of past incidents where they had so many demands but there were no talks. As we have seen in history, those released did not return. They went into hiding in the mountains. So those are our apprehensions)," he added.

Año said military and law enforcement operations against communist insurgents would continue while the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict will continue bringing development projects to far-flung barangays.

He said he is not inclined to recommend a suspension of military operations and a ceasefire with the CPP-NPA, noting that these insurgents have a history of committing atrocities even during the Christmas season. (PNA)