MANILA - The time is not yet right for the government to pursue peace negotiations with the New People's Army rebels.
This was emphasized by AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Eduardo Año, as he noted the continued extortion activities and attacks by the rebels targeting civilians and soldiers, instead of convincing the government of their desire to return to the peace table and resolve the armed conflict.
“For now, the situation, I think is not conducive to have a peace negotiation (because) instead of doing some confidence measures (or) actions, ang ginagawa nila lalo pa nilang pinag-iigting yung pag atake (What they do is intensify the attacks)," he said.
He said the government is more than willing to resume the stalled peace negotiations, but only if the rebels also reciprocate the willingness.
“Our number one condition which is the same as that of the President is for them to stop their extortion and burning activities, then we can have a ceasefire and then we can talk," he said.
Peace talks with the rebel group were terminated Feb. 4 following a series of unprovoked attacks against civilian and military targets nationwide.*PNA
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