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Protracted conflict

Peace Talks

THE administration’s reported readiness to resume peace negotiations with insurgents is a welcome development in the protracted conflict between the government and the communist rebels.

But Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, a retired police general, was quick to emphasize that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) need to show “sincerity.

The government is ready, the President is ready. But what we want from them is a little bit of sincerity,” according to Lorenzana, who traces his roots to San Quintin town in Eastern Pangasinan.

He made the statement after National Democratic Front (NDF) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni was quoted as saying that the peace talk “is only a means to advance the revolutionary movement.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, on the other hand, said that while the government should not give up on peace efforts with the insurgents, it would be better to pursue localized peace negotiations.

Giving up on peace should not be an option. But given the failures of past administrations who engaged in centralized peace negotiations, I fully support the present efforts of localizing them, he said.

Lacson, a product of the Philippine Military Academy like Lorenzana, said the situation varies in different areas, adding local government units (LGUs) are thus in a better position to address their needs.

And we share his view that what is needed is for the government to just come up with “clear guidelines and parameters” for the negotiations, along with the proper assistance and supervision.

For the sake of our suffering countrymen, including the ordinary citizens, let’s save this nation of more than 100 million freedom-loving people from being stained with more blood spills.

Let’s find other means to attain lasting peace in the country.