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Dec 11th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Senator Pimentel Backs General Yano’s Proposal for a Ceasefire Between AFP and NPA
Senator Pimentel Backs General Yano’s Proposal for a Ceasefire Between AFP and NPA PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Friday, 25 July 2008 14:39

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today backed the proposal of the chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Gen. Alexander Yano, for a ceasefire with the New People’s Army to create an atmosphere conducive for a possible restart of the long-dormant peace talks with communist rebels.


Senator Pimentel expressed dismay that Yano’s proposal was rejected outright by Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who insisted on the use of military might to defeat communist guerillas and fulfill President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s objective to make the NPA an “irrelevant force” by the end of her term in 2010.


He said the defense secretary’s statement only betrays the Arroyo administration’s hypocrisy in its repeated declaration that it is leaving the door open to a resumption of the peace negotiation.


“General Yano is right tactically. I support his proposal. But I suggest the next time around, the Department of National Defense and the AFP should send on uncomplicated message. It is not good for the defense establishment to speak in different directions,” the minority leader said.

Mr. Pimentel said it is ironic that General Yano, who is leading the 120,000-strong armed forces in the counter-insurgency war, is quite vocal in prodding the government to try the peaceful approach in licking communist insurgency while the civilian head of the DND has taken a hawkish position.


He said General Yano has a point in favoring an indefinite ceasefire to entice the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA to go back to the negotiating table. He said this was intended to prevent the peace talks from being unnecessarily disrupted by a shooting war.


Senator Pimentel pointed out that a ceasefire agreement between the AFP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao has helped in preventing armed hostilities, or at least in reducing them to manageable levels.


If an indefinite truce between the AFP and MILF is not possible, they should at least agree to a mutual ceasefire whenever actual peace negotiation is in progress, the senator from Mindanao said.


Senator Pimentel observed that the peace talks between the government and the MILF have been in the doldrums for about four years now. The revival of the peace process was made more difficult by move of the United States government to put the CPP-NPA in its list of terrorist organizations worldwide.

During that long period, Senator Pimentel said the Arroyo government pursued an all-out-war policy towards the communist rebels resulting in the escalation of the armed conflict that has caused untold misery the civilian populace in the war zones.


And yet, he said there is no sign that the CPP-NPA is giving up the armed struggle despite claim of battlefield victories by the military establishment.


Senator Pimentel called for a review of the administration’s all-out-war policy in the face of persistent skepticism that this is the right solution to the insurgency problem.


Besides, he said this has not only taken a huge toll in human lives on both sides while forcing the government to allocate a sizeable portion of the annual national budget to the military. This has diminished the funds that should have gone to programs that will improve the delivery of government services and alleviate the poverty. # # #


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Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2008 14:46

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