Peace talks with communist rebels – combined with the development of areas cleared of the New People’s Army’s presence – will continue under a Lacson presidency.
This was made clear Monday by Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson as he said that at the end of the day, the rebels are also Filipinos.
“Unang una, tuloy-tuloy ang peace talks. Huwag natin kalimutan na kababayan natin yan (First, we will continue the peace talks. Let’s not forget that they are also Filipinos),” Lacson said on “Ikaw na Ba? The Presidential Interviews on DZBB.”
But he maintained this must be combined with an honest-to-goodness implementation of development programs for areas cleared of the NPA’s presence.
Without the development projects, he said continued poverty would force many NPAs who have surrendered to join the insurgency again.
Lacson said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) was a good concept but was badly implemented, such that areas that needed funds did not get any while those that did not need funds received billions of pesos.
“Ang lugar na maraming surrenderees napagkaitan. Ito ang gusto namin i-correct (Areas with many surrenderees are denied the funds they need. This is what we should correct),” he said, adding that while the NTF-ELCAC is the right approach to bring rebels back to mainstream society, it should be implemented right.
This is part of Lacson’s vow to fix the ills of government (Aayusin ang Gobyerno, Aayusin ang Buhay ng Bawat Pilipino) and go after robbers especially those in government (Uubusin ang Magnanakaw).