The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) condemns the ambush of the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and her police escorts in Camarines Sur saying that such acts show the futility of peace negotiations with Joma Sison.
“We condemn the killing of three police officers during the ambush of a PNP convoy escorting FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno. This violent incident against government officials who are just doing their jobs is a pure act of terrorism that shows the futility of talking to Joma Sison,” says DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
On Thursday morning, Puno's convoy, consisting of her main vehicle and two police vehicles, was passing through Barangay Napolidan in Lupi, Camarines Sur at around 9:10 a.m., when around 20 NPA rebels opened fire, resulting to the death of three police security escorts and the injury of three others.
Puno’s vehicle sped off as the assailants continuously shot the tailing police car.
"How can Joma expect to have meaningful peace negotiations when they are killing our police officers and ambushing government officials including the FDA head who was just there to attend a government event?," he asks.
Año says that Sison's new offer to resume peace talks is a clear attempt to relieve pressure from the NPA who are losing the battle in the mountains to government forces. "More than a thousand former rebels have since returned to the fold of the law and they are feeling the pressure. Peace talks are a way for them to regroup and strengthen their forces," he says.
The DILG Chief says that Sison’s new offer is a futile attempt to divert the people's attention from their foiled Red October plot to oust the Duterte administration.
"Sison wants to take the Filipino people for another ride. Now that their Red October plot has fizzled, now that they realize that there is no hope to oust this administration, they now suddenly want to go back to the negotiating table," he says.
Año, however, insists that there is no use talking peace if government forces and civilians are dying and if the rebel groups continue to commit lawlessness and pure acts of terrorism like the Camarines Sur ambush.
"Peace requires confidence-building measures, and the CPP/NPA/NDF has failed in this respect. They have only themselves to blame," he says.
If Sison and his minions are truly sincere, Año says the communist terrorists groups should stop all forms of hostilities, extortion activities and burning of construction or farm equipment and instead build mutual trust with the government to achieve genuine peace.
"When you offer peace with your left hand but shoot with your right hand like what they did to our policemen in Camarines Sur, that's the height of duplicity," he says.
“We in government are working double time to ensure peace and order in the country. Instead of talking to Joma, we will instead pursue localized peace talks as mentioned by the President because we will never give up on peace,” says Año.
“We will pursue localized peace talks in every region where there are communist rebels. Peace and order is our top priority and we will uphold these local peace talks until the last rebel lays down his arms,” he says.