- The Reds said it will not disarm nor disband the NPA even if a peace deal with the government is reached
- NDF spokesman Luis Jalandoni said the NPA will use their weapons to defend communities and other organizations
- A military official said the communists’ position could be a deal-breaker
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it will not disarm nor disband its armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA), even if a peace deal is reached with the government of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Former priest Luis Jalandoni, the chief negotiator for the CPP’s political arm National Democratic Front, said he does not think the NPA should be disarmed.
“We don’t think the New People’s Army should be disarmed or the weapons surrendered and destroyed,” he said.
The NPA, according to Jalandoni, will not be disbanded because it will help in protecting communities and farmers. He said the NPA fighters could also be deployed as forest guards to protect natural resources and prevent deforestation, help in the implementation of land reform and assist in the industrialization process.
“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and NPA, wala nang away — ano ngayon ang gagawin? Sabi namin, ang NPA hindi magsu-surrender ng arms, gagamitin pa din nila to defend ‘yung mga communities at lahat itong organizations, at tutulong sila sa land reform and industrialization. Puwede rin silang maging forest guards para i-prevent ang deforestation,” the NDF spokesman said.
[There’s no more conflict between the AFP and NPA, what are we going to do now? We said, the NPA will not surrender their weapons because they can still use them to defend communities and other organizations; and help in land reform and industrialization. They could also be deployed as forest guards to prevent deforestation.]
As per a Malaya article dated September 30, 2016, a high-ranking military official, who declined to be identified for lack of authority to speak to media, said the communists’ refusal to disarm and disband its armed wing could be a deal-breaker.
“Can you really have two armies under one government? Our government will not agree to this. Our Muslim brothers had agreed to disarm and demobilize their army under a peace deal. Why can’t the communists?” he asked.
The next round of peace negotiations between the government and the communists will resume on October 6.