National Democratic Front’s “sincerity” will mark peace talks restart

The Philippine Army said that the continuation of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) would depend on the sincerity of the communist group and on their agreement to a ceasefire.

The NDF is the main umbrella organization that counts as members, among others, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

According to Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva, Army spokesman, the Army has always campaigned for peaceful settlement of issues between the NDF and the government.

“It [resumption of the peace talks] depends on the sincerity of these people [in the NDF] because as far as the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is concerned, especially us, the Philippine Army, we are the forces on the ground,” Villanueva added.

“In the first place, it’s always us who are in the [arena] of conflict. We are the ones being greatly affected and if these [peace negotiations] will be pursued anew, it will be a good condition,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech in Pasay City that he may reconsider termination of peace talks with the Left. But he said that the reconsideration to resume the peace negotiations would depend on the NPA agreeing to a ceasefire first.

Villanueva said the communists “are the ones destroying the process and we are the ones abiding with the rules prescribed by the peace negotiations.”

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