By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo Monday said the military establishment is not planning an all-out war against communist guerrillas.
Arevalo made the assurance following President Duterte’s decision to postpone the peace talks with the Reds.
The scheduled start of the stand-down ceasefire was on June 21 while the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway is slated a week later on June 28.
“Wala pong planong (There is no plan for) all-out war. What we want now is all-out peace because all the efforts of our government are being supported by the AFP,” Arevalo said in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“We want the peace talks to continue and succeed,” he added.
Arevalo, at the same time, denied that President Duterte allegedly heeded the AFP request for him to cancel the talks, thus acting as peace spoilers.
“That is not true. Our president, our commander in chief could be likened to a father of the house. I think that is the best way to make things better understood. If you are a father of the house and you know that your sons are not in favor, it’s just normal for you to explain to your child why you had to make that decision,” he said.
“We are not peace spoilers, we vehemently deny that. The public knows that if there is one group or institution that wants the peace talks to succeed, that is the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
Arevalo, at the same time, said the Communist Party of the Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) is pushing vigorously for the resumption of the peace talks in the light of mass surrenders of NPA members in recent months.
Arevalo said that based on their latest count, a total of 6,654 NPA”s/supporters have been neutralized including 666 who surrendered, 75 who were caught and 64 who died in various military operations.
He added that 718 firearms and 300 IEDs (improvised explosive device) have been seized or recovered by the military.
The figure, Arevalo said, is from January to June of this year.