PASIG CITY (9 JUNE 2021)— The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) condemned the recent attacks perpetrated by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Luzon, particularly the ambush of government forces in Quezon, and the landmine explosion in Masbate.

According to Assistant Secretary Wilben M. Mayor, OPAPP spokesperson, these incidents are the reason why President Rodrigo Roa Duterte terminated the conduct of national peace talks with the communist group in 2017.

“Nakita po ng ating Pangulo na hindi sinsero itong kabilang grupo na magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa bansa,” Mayor said during a radio interview on Wednesday, June 9.

“Sa kabila ng mga negosasyon at tigil-putukan, paulit-ulit na lumalabag ang CPP-NPA sa karapatang pantao,” he pointed out.

The CPP-NPA-NDF has been classified by the government as a terrorist organization by virtue of Proclamation No. 374 in 2017.

On June 5, 2021, Romar Gono, a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was slain during an ambush carried out by NPA members against government forces in Buenavista town in Quezon.

Gono, along with other CAFGU and military personnel, were escorting policemen who were distributing food aid to residents.

On June 6, 21 year-old footballer Kieth Absalon, and his cousin, Nolven Absalon, were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) set up by the NPA in Masbate City, Masbate.

“Yung paggamit ng landmine, hindi lamang pinagbabawal locally, kundi internationally, based doon sa United Nations small arms and weapons rules,” Mayor said.

“Nakikiramay tayo sa pamilya ng mga nasawi. Ito ay isang nakakalungkot na pangyayari na gawain ng mga taong dapat managot sa batas,” he added.

Localized peace talks

With the termination of the national peace talks, President Duterte issued Executive Order No.70, which directed government agencies to conduct localized peace engagements (LPE) under the Whole-of-Nation Approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

LPEs are carried out through community consultations, problem-solving sessions, as well as dialogues with former rebels.

Through LPEs, line agencies and local government units are able to directly address the root causes of the armed conflict at the community-level through using a holistic and integrated approach.

Utilizing this strategy, the government is able to effectively respond to the issues raised by the combatants, their families, and their communities.

OPAPP is the co-lead agency of LPE, along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

LPE is one of the 12 lines of effort under the Whole-of-Nation Approach to end the local communist armed conflict, alongside Basic Services, and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

E-CLIP is an initiative which provides monetary incentives to former rebels, in exchange for their firearms.

“Ang offer po ng ating pamahalaan ay doon sa mga indibidwal na gusto pong bumalik at sumuko para magbagong-buhay,” Mayor said.

“Yung mga gustong magbalik-loob sa pamahalaan (ay maaaring makipag-ugnayan) sa mga local chief executives, (tulad ng) barangay captain,” he added. ###