Only lasting peace can bring progress, Bello says

December 26, 2009 10:36 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 26 — Malacanang on Saturday said that while the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) has been unilaterally declared by government and reciprocated by the left, "still there is no substitute for lasting peace to bring prosperity to our country."

In an interview over Radyo ng Bayan on the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People's Army on Saturday, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III, a former chairman of the government negotiating panel with the left, said "peace must be pursued by both panels."

SOMO is in force from 1 a.m. of Dec. 24 to noon of Dec. 26 and from 1 a.m. Dec. 31 to noon of Jan. 1.

"Only with lasting peace can we achieve meaningful and lasting progress in the country," he said. What we need is not a temporary ceasefire of 15 or 30 days but a lasting peace in our country. We need to have a final resolution of the armed conflict between our government and the CPP-NDF-NPA."

Bello said it was very important to push the peace process to its logical conclusion through patience and political will.

Bello said he was awared that it was difficult to negotiate peace "since we are talking of four decades of intransigency from the left so it is not easy to convince them to return to the fold of the law."

He said the SOMO declared by government did not preclude it from its defensive position and operation. "While we are not taking up any aggressive action against them, we are also prepared to meet any offensive if they fail in the terms of the ceasefire." (PNA) RMA/OPS/rsm

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