SAN AGUSTIN, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/27 December) – The spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao on Sunday gave assurance that all their guerilla units will abide by the outcome of the Front’s peace negotiations with the government.
“We have taken this path of peace and I assure you, all of our guerilla forces will abide by its outcome,” Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris, NDF-Mindanao spokesperson, told reporters at the 42nd anniversary rites of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), here.
Madlos made the assurance after the military accused the New People’s Army of being insincere following the ambush of an Army patrol in Samar on December 14, killing 10 soldiers and a boy.
The chairs of the government and NDF peace panels, Alex Padilla and Jalandoni, had met in early December in Hong Kong and will meet again for informal talks in January 2011 in preparation for the formal peace talks scheduled in February.
Madlos said both sides will tackle the substantive portion of the peace talks, mainly land reform and national industrialization.
“For example, we want to go over the list of big landholdings that should be put under agrarian reform,” Madlos told MindaNews.
He said the NDF is also open to idea of having a civilian ceasefire monitoring similar to the works done by nongovernment organizations in the conflict areas of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“The NDF is willing and open to ideas on how civilians can help in the peace process,” Madlos said.
Madlos, however, said the guerillas will never agree to any call for disarmament at the onset of the talks.
He said the NPA will continue to operate in the countryside and warned big corporations that they will be subjected to reprisals if they continue to violate environmental laws.
The CPP celebrated its 42 year with a cultural presentation and peace forum in a village here on Sunday, December 26.
Journalists and a huge number of sympathizers were treated to a show performed by some 80 young rebels on a makeshift stage at the village while heavily armed government soldiers and policemen stood guard on the highway, three kilometers away.
The NDF withdrew from the peace talks with the government in August 2005 after it accused the administration of former President Arroyo of allegedly orchestrating its blacklisting as a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)