Govt to use military might vs rebel groups

March 12, 2010 11:38 pm 

MANILA, March 12 – Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales on Friday said the military establishment will unleash its full might against rebel groups that refuse to talk peace with the government.

In his speech during the assumption of new Army chief Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, Gonzales said that while it was the government’s policy to offer peace to the rebel groups, armed rebellion was no longer an option to effect change.

The government is in the process of pursuing a peace accord with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The two sides were on a deadlock over the draft peace agreements each of them proposed.

Peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF)bogged down in 2004 although efforts are underway to revived the formal negotiations. The NDF is representing the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army.

The military is exerting efforts to defeat the insurgency problem on or before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo finishes her term on June 30. Military estimates placed the NPA’s strength to more than 4,000 as of end 2009.

“I would like to explain that the policy of government when it comes to armed rebellion remains contained within the peace process. We will continue to engage in continuing dialogue. We will always be offering peace to those who think that the use of violence and arms is still a legitimate way of achieving peace,” said Gonzales.

“We have to tell them that in this country, in this age, armed rebellion is no longer acceptable as a means of achieving societal change, we will explain them, we will go out of our way to win back our fellow Filipinos who have had some other ways of looking at things,” he said.

“But to those who chose to continue using or employing violence I would like the armed force to really give them a taste of what war really is,” the defense chief also said.

In his speech, Mapagu said the Army would “persevere” toward accomplishing the mission to end the insurgency problem.

“For our part, rest assured that we shall persevere to fully accomplish our internal security operations mandate to reduce insurgency to inconsequential level across the country. We shall endeavor to endure an orderly, peaceful, and more importantly, honest and credible national and local elections in May,” said Mapagu.(PNA) RMA/ VR

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