Drilon, Magsaysay urge NDF-NPA to participate in electoral process

March 19, 2013 11:38 pm 

BUTUAN City, March 19 – Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon Tuesday appealed to the Communist-led National Democratic Front and New People’s Army to resume peace talks ‘unconditionally’ and participate in the electoral process.

”I call on CPP-NPA and challenge them to join the electoral process. The peace process is important here in Mindanao specially now that I’ve been receiving reports that NPA is imposing permit to campaign,” Drilon said in media interview upon arrival at the airport to attend the Team PNoy campaign sortie here.

Drilon appealed to both panels, the government and the CPP-NDF, to resume the process without asking any condition so as not to disrupt the conduct of peaceful election in May.

”All the candidates are complaining because the NPA rebels have been asking money in exchange of permit to campaign,” said Drilon, as the LP-led administration coalition candidates barnstormed the Caraga Region, one of the remaining hotbeds of the four-decades-old Communist insurgency.

One of the country’s poorest regions, Caraga is made up of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

“The best and most effective way to change the system is by electing to power the people that we believe will carry out the reforms we all want to see,” added Drilon.

During the presidencies of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Drilon was a consultant in the peace panels that were formed to reach out to Communist and Muslim rebels.

Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante welcomed Drilon as well as Team PNoy senatorial candidates Jun Magsaysay, Jamby Madrigal and Sonny Angara’s representative, her mother Gloria, at the airport.

Magsaysay challenged the NDF, which has held on-and-off peace talks with the government since the 1990s, to “demonstrate utmost sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations.”

”The government is resolute in finding ways to achieve lasting peace in the country,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay, whose father and namesake was instrumental in ending in the 50s the Huk rebellion tied to agrarian unrest, chided what he called wrongful activities attributed to NPA rebels such as imposing “campaign permits” from P50,000 to P5 million on political candidates visiting rebel-influenced areas.

“Team PNoy will not tolerate such activities as it will only worsen the problem on insurgency,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay said the government will “exhaust all means to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” amid reports of the NDF’s insincerity in the stalled peace talks with the government.

“A peaceful Philippines is not impossible under the Aquino administration,” Magsaysay said.

“This is evident in the on-going discussions on the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the Bangsamoro entity in which the first of four annexes have already been signed,” Magsaysay added.

Drilon and Magsaysay said Team PNoy supports all efforts at ending the conflict in Mindanao.

”That is why the President needs a majority in the Senate, to ensure the success of the peace negotiations with the MILF, as well as with the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Drilon said. (PNA)

HBC/JFM

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