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Army chief wants peace talks with rebels at the local level
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on August 3, 2013, 6:42 pm

 (The Freeman) 

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines — With the stalled peace negotiation between the CPP-NPA-NDF and the GPH panel, Philippine Army chief Lt.Gen. Noel Coballes on Friday told The Freeman the military is still open to any form of dialogue with the rebels, but in the local level.

"We wanted to talk to them. If it cannot be done in the national level because of some political hindrances, we would like to do it in the local level. Para kasi sa akin mas madaling kausap ang mga local units," Coballes said during the 25th anniversary of the 8th Infantry Division based in Samar province.

Coballes, speaking before several LGU chief executives, congressmen, POs and heads of various government agencies from Eastern Visayas lauded the efforts of the 8th ID, headed by Maj. Gen. Gerardo Layug, in pushing for peace with the rebels in the region.

The Phil. Army top official said maintaining an open peace-channel is important as this yielded positive results on the part of the 8th ID, citing the recent negotiated surrender 'en masse" of rebels in Northern Samar.

Layug, for his part, told The Freeman that members of the CPP-NPA-NDF were given assurance that the government will assist them, should they decide to lay down their arms and start a new life under the folds of the law.

"Apparently, this assurance is likewise being emphasized by their former leaders who are now living peacefully in different communities and are now calling upon them to end this conflict and altogether face a brighter future," Layug said.

 

With the partnership of the military, the LGUs, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and other government line agencies, as well as the sincerity in peace talks with local insurgents, "there's no way that we cannot address most of their concerns," Layug added. (FREEMAN)


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