By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY – The Davao City Peace Committee (DC PEACE) has identified three local commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA) who could be tapped for possible localized peace talks between the local government and the rebel group.
This was disclosed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who revealed that DC PEACE will be reaching out to the three commanders operating in and around the city in a bid to jumpstart the peace negotiations.
Carpio said that the committee will be informing the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) about the city’s own plans to forge peace with the Communist group.
But Carpio said she was not optimistic about getting OPAPP’s cooperation as she had earlier read an interview that Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza gave wherein he averred that he was not encouraging the conduct of localized peace talks.
“Initially our move is to write a letter to OPAPP and explain what we are doing here,” she said.
Carpio refused to identify the three NPA leaders until DC PEACE is able to get their consent to participate in the talks.
According to Carpio, DC PEACE has agreed that there was no law that prohibited the local government from entering into a peace agreement with any group.
The local government is also working under the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code, she added.
The Mayor said that the committee was willing to speak with representatives of the three commands operating in the city.
The committee met for the first time this week after the committee was created under Executive Order No. 34.
Another issue that was raised was the jurisdictions where the NPA operated, which overlapped with other LGUs.
Sta. Cruz and Davao City belong to one area, while Cotabato and (Davao City’s) Marilog district are in another area. Davao del Norte and Davao City from the Paquibato side are in another area where the NPA operates.
“There are concerns like that,” she said.
Carpio also underscored that the local government was not seeking the surrender of the NPAs at this point, but just an opportunity for everybody “take talk and see what we can do.”
The next meeting is scheduled on Nov. 17.
“Earlier, kanina ang usapan was just to start with the three identified commanders in Davao City,” she said.