- Gov’t and NDF-CPP-NPA vowed all-out war as peace talks break down
- Defense secretary said NPA are extortionists like the Abu Sayyaf, promised to hunt them down
- Communists brushed off gov’t threat, said their revolutionary movement to continue as usual
MANILA, Philippines – Both the government and communist rebels vowed an all-out war following the breakdown of peace talks and the cancellation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
In a conference, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana likened the New People’s Army to the Abu Sayyaf Group and vowed to put a stop to their activities.
“It is an all-out war because they are considered by the president already as terrorists,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying. How are they NPA different from the Abu Sayyaf? The Abu Sayyaf kidnap people and then they get money. The NPA will threaten those businessmen and also get money.”
“There’s no difference at all. They are there to terrorize people, to giving them money, that’s extortion. So we will hunt them down and maybe stop them from doing what they are doing,” he added.
On the communist side, chief National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiator Fidel Agcaoili brushed off the government’s threat and said their revolutionary will continue.
“President Cory Aquino did it in 1987 after the Mendiola massacre. (President Joseph) Estrada too, after signing the VFA. We are used to these threats,” Agcaoili said. “The revolutionary movement will persist and continue the struggle for the national and social liberation of the Filipino people to bring about a just and lasting peace in the country.”
Agcaoili and the NDF’s chief political consultant Jo. Ma Sison were earlier served a notice cancelling the temporary immunity granted to communist negotiators engaged in peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
“Following the President’s announcement of the cancellation of the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF and per his instructions, the Government is hereby serving this notice of the termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Please be guided accordingly,” read the statement by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza.