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    Posted March 23, 2014 by

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    Phl asks rebels: Abandon armed struggle

    THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has asked rebels belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA) to abandon the armed struggle and return to the comfort of their families and join the rest of Filipinos in bringing peace and development to the nation.
    AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista issued the call after a Philippine official on Sunday assured that the government is ready for possible retaliation attacks by rebels following the arrest of top officials of the Community Part of the Philippines (CPP) in Cebu Province.
    “We are always aware, fully aware of the possibility of retaliation, and our armed forces are always ready to defend the population,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in an interview on state-run dzRB Radio-Manila.
    Arrested were CPP-NPA secretary general and chairman, Wilma and Benito Tiamzon, respectively. The arrest took place in Barangay Zaragosa Village, Aluginsan town, Cebu on Saturday.
    While CPP founder Joma Sison has earlier declared that the arrest of the Tiamzon couple will not cripple their revolutionary movement, Lacierda said that he would rather “leave it at that.”
    National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, on the other hand, slammed the arrest of the Tiamzon couple.
    Jalandoni stressed that the couple were both protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) despite their positions in the CPP.
    Lacierda said that the Jasig is not operative since its files, which were saved in floppy disks, could no longer be opened.
    “Jasig no longer operative now because we could longer the files,” Lacierda said. “It’s not our fault. They were the ones who gave us the Jasig list.”
    The government said the arrest of Tiamzon couple is another victory for the combined efforts between the AFP, PNP and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace and security.
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