News Analysis: Chances of new talks between Philippine government and communist rebels nil [Xinhua]

By Alito L. Malinao

MANILA, March 24 (Xinhua) — While the Philippine government is set to sign a peace accord with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, the chances of concluding a similar peace deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines ( CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have become nil.

The refusal of the government to release the two captured leaders of the CPP-NPA, Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, as demanded by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) , has made the resumption of the talks almost impossible.

The NDFP, the political arm of the CPP-NPA, has called on the government to release the two, saying that they are NDFP consultants and are entitled to immunity from arrest.

Tiamzon, who is chairman of both the CPP and the NPA, and his wife, the CPP secretary general, were captured by the Philippine military on Saturday in a remote village in Cebu province in central Philippines along with five top aides…

…But exiled CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison said that the arrests would not cripple the revolutionary movement in the Philippines “because the roots of the armed revolution remained.”

Sison, now an NDFP consultant and based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, charged that Aquino “is more interested in imprisoning a few NDFP consultants and prejudicing the peace negotiations by violating existing agreements like the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He said that if the Aquino administration no longer respected the JASIG, signed by the NDFP and the government, “then Mr. Aquino becomes responsible for killing the peace negotiations.”

When he assumed the presidency in 2010, President Benigno Aquino III vowed to work out a peace agreement with the MILF and the CPP-NPA.

But it seems that he is more successful in cooling the Muslim rebellion than the communist insurgency in the country…

…The NDFP has been engaged in peace negotiations with the government for the past 27 years, but the talks have not moved beyond minor agreements.

Negotiators of the government and the NDFP held their last meeting in Norway in February 2011 when they failed to reach an agreement particularly on issues over the release of detained communist rebels and long ceasefire.

In May last year, the government peace panel announced the termination of the peace negotiation and blamed on the NDFP’s preconditions and demands.

According to the military, the guerrillas of the NPA have dwindled to about 4,000 from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s. But NPA debunked this claim, saying that their presence is felt in almost all regions in the country.

As if to prove its strength, the NPA has lately staged coordinated attacks and ambuscades against government troops, particularly in the rural areas.

Editor: Luan

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-03/24/c_133209999.htm

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