Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday debunked the claims of the National Democratic Front (NDF) that the government acted in bad faith in the course of the peace talks held earlier this year.
He said the NDF was the one guilty of bad faith from the start and is only using the peace talks “to pursue its armed rebellion.”
"Mr. (Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria 'Joma') Sison has been explicit about this in many occasions, explaining that the primary objective of the NDF is armed struggle and anything that would advance it, including peace talks, was welcome," Lorenzana in a statement said.
He cited, for instance, the success of the "Lambat-Bitag" campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the late 1980s to early 1990s, which reduced the number of New People's Army fighters from 25,000 to 5,000, had forced the group to the peace tables.
"Since then, several agreements were signed with them, including The Hague Declaration, JASIG, CAHRIHL, etc. Why have we not signed a final agreement that would end the communist insurgency? Three decades of talks and the end is nowhere in sight. It is not hard to figure out why: they don’t want peace, except on their terms," Lorenzana said.
"Attaining peace with the communists has been elusive from the very start simply because their ‘negotiators’ from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has done nothing but stall for time by constantly putting forward outrageous demands," he added.
He said what the rebels ultimately want is not peace but a complete takeover and establish a communist government. This objective of the communists has never changed, he noted.
"The CPP and NDFP are realizing that the current localized peace talks campaign of the government to convince their fighters to return to the folds of the law is working. The E-CLIP or the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program under the Task Force 'Balik Loob', a program that Mr. Sison accuses of being a scam, has succeeded in benefitting thousands of former rebels, providing them and their families with livelihood, free housing, medical care, free education for their children ,and skills training," he said.
The defense chief said the NDF only wants to stall the program "by their overtures for the resumption of formal talks."