NTF-ELCAC Co-Vice Chair Año Welcomes Oslo Joint Communique, Vows to Advance the Gains Against CTGs
Updated: Dec 5, 2023
December 06, 2023
The Co-Vice Chairman of the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Secretary Eduardo M. Año welcomed the recent exploratory talks between Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front on 23 November 2023, in Oslo, Norway.
In a statement Año said, "The NTF-ELCAC will sustain gains and further advance the delivery of basic services, access to livelihood opportunities and complete the infrastructure development projects in isolated, conflict affected communities."
He averred that exploratory talks should not be subject to any preconditions on ceasefire, release of political detainees, and lifting of terrorist designation.
The NTF-ELCAC Co Vice Chair says the government will not relent in defending citizens from the threat of communist terrorist groups by maintaining peace and order. He emphasized it is of upmost importance to secure the life, liberty, and properties of all Filipinos through focused military operations and law enforcement to prevent lawlessness and bloodshed.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP will continue with its campaign to defeat all armed threats to the country, including the NPA. They will continue to sustain its operational tempo to further weaken the NPA’s capacity to sow violence in their last remaining influenced communities," Año said.
He further added that the task force will continue to prioritize the dismantling of the 20 remaining weakened guerilla fronts.
From 89 active guerilla fronts five years ago, NTF ELCAC whittled down the 55 year old terrorist group to zero active guerilla fronts. This was largely achieved through the principle of Whole of Government effort and Whole of Nation participation. This approach has become the beacon of a real and productive engagement which has led to unprecedented peace and security in previously conflict torn areas.
"We cannot and will not stop pursuing peace. We do not seek to stamp out our fellow Filipinos who have been duped into committing terroristic acts by false ideology, but rather aim to lift them up to work with them hand in hand as brothers and sisters in nation building," said Año.
Nevertheless, Año assured that the NTF ELCAC will work for the closure of the communist armed struggle, mindful that the rebels are still Filipinos entitled to amnesty. He added that, ultimately the overarching goal is true reconciliation where former rebels successfully rejoin mainstream society and become productive citizens of the country. ###
NTF-ELCAC MEDIA BUREAU
Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco