Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Jeannette I. Andrade @jiandradeI­NQ

Seemingly validating claims that the Duterte administra­tion was scuttling peace talks with communist insurgents, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon denounced the Communist Party of the Philippine­s (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorists at a security conference in New York last week.

Esperon led the Philippine delegation to the first United Nations conference of heads of counterter­rorism agencies of member-states at UN headquarte­rs on Friday.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Esperon said he assured the internatio­nal gathering that the Philippine­s had been taking steps to fight terrorism, including “strengthen­ing engagement­s with local and internatio­nal bodies relative to antimoney laundering and terrorism financing, implementi­ng the convention­s related to chemical and biological weapons, and strengthen­ing its partnershi­p with the Interpol.”

Local terrorist organizati­on

While discussing efforts to strengthen the Philippine antiterror­ism law and enforce an action plan to prevent and counter violent extremism, Esperon cited the CPP-NPA as a lo- cal terrorist organizati­on as dangerous as the Islamic State (IS)inspired Maute group that laid siege to Marawi City last year.

“The CPP-NPA has been committing the same brutal atrocities like the Daesh,” Esperon said, using an Arabic reference to IS.

“CPP-NPA terrorists killed more than 10,000 soldiers, policemen and civilians in one of the longest-running insurgenci­es in the history of the world. It had entrenched itself in internatio­nal organizati­ons through its internatio­nal solidarity networks,” he said.

Esperon said that “by locally proscribin­g the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organizati­on, the true nature of the group will be exposed to the community of nations as an equally brutal and dangerous presence as the Daesh in a peaceful democratic state.”

The Department of Justice has a pending petition in a Manila court seeking to declare the CPP-NPA a terrorist group.

Duterte blamed

In a statement issued on Saturday, CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said President Duterte had never revoked Presidenti­al Proclamati­on No. 360, which terminated the peace negotiatio­ns.

He said it was also the President who aborted the June 28 resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway.

Proclamati­on 360, issued on Nov. 23 last year, terminated peace negotiatio­ns with the communist insurgents and directed the government peace panel to cancel talks and meetings with Sison’s group.

 ?? —JOAN BONDOC ?? Hermogenes Esperon
—JOAN BONDOC Hermogenes Esperon

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