Senator Chiz hopes NPA terrorist tag just a negotiating tactic

Senator Chiz Escudero is hoping that the tagging of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist group by President Rodrigo Duterte is just a negotiating tactic.

“I hope this terror tag on CPP-NPA is just a hiccup or a negotiating tactic in the peace process. I am still optimistic that peace talks between the government and the CPP-NPA will soon resume and prosper under cooler situation,” Senator Escudero said in a release statement.

Escudero, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, also said President Duterte’s declaration removes the possibility of peace talks. “And given the government policy, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

He also reminded the police and the military to strictly observe the provisions of the Human Security Act (HSA) in the conduct of their operation after the government had officially declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the National People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist organizations.

“Any offense committed under HSA necessitates stronger evidentiary requirements. You can’t just file murder, illegal possession of firearms or any non-bailable offense. Government has to follow and adhere to the stringent requirements provided by the law, and these requirements carry corresponding penalties against violators,” Escudero said.

“Ang nakakalungkot dito, marami na namang maiipit na iba’t ibang lugar sa bansa at mga sibilyan dahil sa umpugan ng NPA at ng gobyerno. At magpapatuloy pa rin ang patayan ng Pilipino at kapwa Pilipino,” he said.

“I believe that peace negotiation should be exhausted to bring the armed conflict to a permanent and just closure,” Escudero added.

The senator also noted that Republic Act 9372 or the HSA defines terrorism, as well as provides for the procedure should the government seek to tag a group as terrorist.