Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Palace backs plan to raise security convoy attack to peace talks

MALACAÑANG said Monday it supports the government peace panel's plan to raise the recent rebel attack on the presidential convoy with its counterparts from the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front during the informal talks next month. Last Friday, four suspected communist rebels waylaid a passing security escorts convoy of President Benigno Aquino III in Ligao City in Albay. The President was in Bicol to visit the wake of one of the 10 soldiers killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf terrorist in Basilan on July 26. "The fact that, based on reports, that it came from the CPP-NPA-NDF, it was prudent of Undersecretary (Alexander) Padilla to raise it," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. "That's to show where are we now in the process: do you want peace to be achieved? And that's something I think that Undersecretary Padilla feels (he has) every right to bring up to the negotiating table," he added. The informal talks will resume in September in Oslo, Norway. Padilla said the government would once again urge the CPP-NDF to consider signing a ceasefire agreement during the meeting. Lacierda, however, believed that the ceasefire agreement would be difficult to achieve because of differences with the CPP-NDF and its armed wing New People's Army (NPA). "There have been considerable difficulties with the CPP-NPA-NDF because of a number of preconditions that they have laid out," he said. "If you want to have a peace agreement, it would be preferable if it was held with a ceasefire in place. But the CPP-NPA-NDF has not. There's primarily a difficulty right now as to meeting the tables and discussing and discussing further—that alone, in and of itself, is already a problem," he added. The army said the indiscriminate firing of the rebels in Bicol was not meant to hurt people but only to embarrass the Presidential Security Group. Authorities are pursuing the perpetrators. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)