December 8, 2019
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte order to send Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Netherlands to talk to Communist Party of the Philippines ( CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison about resuming peace talks.
"The AFP respects and supports the wisdom of the Commander-in-Chief in issuing such pronouncements," said Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, in a statement on Saturday.
"We understand that those instructions to (Labor) Sec. (Silvestre) Bello (III) are in the nature of exploratory discussion with Mr. Sison and are meant towards the attainment of sustainable peace which is the President's and also the AFP's ultimate desire," he added.
Duterte gave the order to Bello last Thursday.
Despite the development, Arevalo said the military will continue its operation against the New People's Army (NPA).
"We are continuing with our successful focus military operations in support of National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict that is reaping the gains tremendously in terms of NPA neutralization and enormous support of the local government and the people," he said.
"If we are to negotiate, therefore, we so do from the position of strength," Arevalo stated.
"Time and again, the AFP leadership from the incumbent Chief of Staff General Noel Clement and his predecessors, we unequivocally commit to all-out peace that shall embody the aspirations of our people who have long been yearning for it," he added. Robina Asido/DMS
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