MANILA, July 19 — Malacanang today reiterated its commitment to end all internal conflicts in the country adding it is up to the communist rebels to show its sincerity if it wants to talk peace with the government.
The government has been negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and has concluded this week wealth-sharing agreement with them.
If the MILF and the government finally forged a peace pact, discussing peace with the communist insurgents will remain significant, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippine-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) hit a snag over disagreements on the release of political prisoners, whom the rebels said were vital participants in the peace discussions.
“Our position has always been we would like to resolve all these internal conflicts in a peaceful manner. We have stated our position many times. We have advocated our position several times. It is up to the CPP-NPA-NDF to come to the table and break bread with us,” Lacierda told reporters when asked about how significant it is for the government to discuss peace with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The government had confirmed that its chief negotiator with the communist rebels has resigned after several months of lull in the peace talks.
Lacierda also mentioned the government’s willingness to provide protection to a vice mayor in the Visayas region who has been in the rebel’s hit list. The NPA leadership has ordered its members to “arrest” the vice mayor in Bacolod City.
Asked if he thinks the NPA threat against a duly-elected official an insult to the government’s mandate to maintain order and peace, he said: “We own the brand, law and order is our brand. It is not any other people’s brand, any other rebels’ or group’s brand.” (PCOO)