Mindanao Times

AFP respects plan to give Reds chance

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MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippine­s (AFP) respects the decision of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to give communist rebels another chance for peace negotiatio­ns.

“The AFP respects and supports the wisdom of the Commander-in-Chief in issuing such pronouncem­ents,” AFP spokespers­on Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message forwarded to reporters over the weekend.

Earlier, Duterte announced that he will send Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III the Netherland­s to discuss with Communist Party of the Philippine­s

founding chair Jose Maria “Joma” Sison his administra­tion’s plans to give them another chance for a dialogue that will pave the way for peace talks.

“We understand that those instructio­ns to Secretary

Bello are in the nature of explorator­y discussion with Mr. Sison and are meant towards the attainment of sustainabl­e peace which is the President’s and also the AFP’s ultimate desire,” Arevalo said.

The AFP, however, will continue with its successful

focus military operations in support of the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict which is now is reaping the gains tremendous­ly in terms of New People’s Army neutraliza­tion and the enormous support of the local government and the people, he added.

“If we are to negotiate, therefore, we so do from the position of strength,” Arevalo said. He also reiterated the AFP leadership, from past to present, is wholly supportive of the peace process along with the rest of the Filipino nation who is yearning for lasting and legitimate peace.

“Time and again, the AFP leadership from the incumbent Chief-of-Staff General Noel Clement and his predecesso­rs, we unequivoca­lly commit to all-out peace that shall embody the aspiration­s of our people who have long been yearning for it,” Arevalo said.

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