Lacson reiterates support for localized peace talks with Communist rebels; Sison no longer in control, senator says

(Eagle News)–Senator Panfilo Lacson reiterated his support for localized peace talks with Communist rebels on Tuesday, April 16, saying Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Joma Sison no longer had “control” over the New People’s Army in the first place.

“Experience has shown that while Sison asks for a ceasefire and government accommodates his request, NPAs continue conducting ambushes and raids,” Lacson said.

Lacson said the government should therefore focus on these NPA leaders who no longer listen to Sison.

He said “such efforts, coupled with localized peace talks, is the better way to end the five-decade-old insurgency problem as the strength of New People’s Army rebels varies in various localities.”

“It is better that governors and mayors and other LGU officials be the ones to talk to local communist guerrillas, under the guidance and direction of a government peace panel that will provide the parameters for such localized peace talks but with enough flexibility in handling such peace initiatives,” he said.

“I have been batting for localized peace talks and in fact strongly suggested the same to former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in one committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Peace and Unification chaired and presided by Sen. Gregorio Honasan II,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte officially ended peace talks with the Communist rebels in November 2017, citing what he said were their atrocities that included the killing of a baby.

The government raised the possibility of conducting localized peace talks instead.

Only recently, Duterte dissolved the national panel in charge of the peace talks, citing the formal termination of the same.

He later raised the possibility of creating another panel that would talk peace with the Communists, this time  one composed of two civilians and three  military officials .