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‘We are winning the peace’

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, attributed the “winning of peace” to the National Task Force–Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Sobejana said yesterday that NTF-ELCAC is a mechanism of convergence among the security sector and other partners in local government units and civilian sector.

The NTF-ELCAC is under fire from some lawmakers and the Makabayan bloc because of the Red-tagging issue. The AFP, however, strongly debunked the allegations, pointing to self-exiled Communist Party of the Philippines chairman Jose Maria Sison as the one responsible for it, by identifying progressive organizations as part of the revolutionary movement.

Sison and 18 other CPP officials, including Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay chairperson, Ma. Conchita Araneta Bocala, were tagged as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council, in Resolution No. 17 it issued.

As to the local peace talks to be pursued by the provincial government of Negros Occidental with the NPA, Sobejana said it is the call of local government executives.

“I don’t think that war is the solution to the security problem,” he said.

There are other dimensions and factors to be addressed…nobody wins in war, Sobejana, who was in La Castellana, Negros Occidental yesterday, added.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier said that he will issue an executive order creating a provincial peace panel for localized peace engagements in Negros Occidental.

Lacson said the creation of the multi-sectoral panel, that will include the Church and the academe, will be guided by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, on how to proceed with the peace negotiations.

Asked if the Covid-19 pandemic affects their campaign against local insurgents, Sobejana said, “All of us have been affected by the Covid-19.” He said that 30 percent of the entire AFP force is being used to support LGUs in preventing the spread of the virus.*

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