From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 18): Military slams rebel atrocities
The military yesterday slammed the New People’s Army for its continued atrocities in Negros Occidental.
Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, who expressed dismay over the continued atrocities committed by the NPA while talking peace with the government, said the latter need not always succumb to the demands of the rebel group.
“We are the ones in the position of force,” Aying said, adding that the New People’s Army, that has been waging the armed struggle for more than 40 years, will not win against the government.
“I don’t think talking to them will enhance government capacity or accelerate development, especially to those who need social protection”, he added.
If the NPA want to talk peace, let them come to the government on bended knees, Aying also said.
In his strongly-worded statement, Aying also said “We are dealing with plain criminals who blatantly violate human rights of individuals”.
Should the peace talks continue, it should be in the Philippines, with the involvement of various stakeholders, he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to seek peaceful means to end all armed conflicts despite declarations of the National Democratic Front that it would rather wait for the end of President Benigno Aquino III’s term before continuing peace negotiations.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, however, said the AFP will focus on combat operations against the NPA that has vowed to step up its armed revolution nationwide.
Zagala, however, also said “We will continue our focused military operations against (the communist rebels) because they continue to do a lot of atrocities not only to the (AFP) but to the people themselves.”
Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Teresita Deles had said earlier that the killings of 27 civilians, including those in an ambush in La Castellana, Negros Occidental early this year, were among the cruel and senseless acts of violence inflicted by the NPA on non-combatants, that have made it difficult to resume the peace talks.
Following another destruction of its properties by suspected communist rebels, the Philex Gold Mining Corporation temporarily suspended its exploration activities in the hinterlands of Sipalay City last month.