Lacson: Localized Peace Talks the Best Way to Deal with Insurgents

Localized peace talks will be the best way for the government to deal with insurgents under a Lacson presidency.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said this approach, which he first suggested to peace process officials, lets the government deal with those who know the situation on the ground.

“This is why earlier, I proposed in a Senate hearing to shift to localized peace talks with the CPP/NPA. I told ex-Sec Dureza and Sec Bello that talking to Joma was useless. He had either lost control or was pursuing a malevolent agenda. That became the new policy of the government,” Lacson said on his Twitter account Tuesday.

Related: Ping: Usapang Pangkapayapaan sa Lokal na Lebel, Pinakamabisang Paraan Para Kausapin ang mga Rebelde

“While it goes without saying we will exhaust all means to achieve peace, it is best that the peace efforts be localized. This is considering the failures of past administrations that engaged in centralized peace talks,” Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, added amid concerns from some sectors regarding the sincerity of the centralized leadership of the insurgents.

Lacson recalled that he “strongly suggested” the localized peace talks during a Senate committee hearing attended by former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

He said local government units (LGUs) are in a better position to determine and address the situations and needs of rebels in various areas. The national government can offer clear guidelines for the talks, along with the proper assistance and supervision, he added.

Also, Lacson reiterated the peace talks must go hand in hand with the development of areas cleared of the presence of the New People’s Army – to prevent NPA surrenderees from going back to the ranks of the rebels.

To do this, he said he will correct the flaws in the implementation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)’s programs, such that funds go to the areas that need them.