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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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‘Army not giving up
on pursuit for peace’


The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division will continue its pursuit of peace despite the rejection by the National Democratic Front of its call for a localized peace dialog, Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., said yesterday.

Mabanta said that he considers the rejection by the National Democratic Front of his invitation for a peace dialog, as a significant development for the future of Western Visayas in terms of peace.

Local NDF spokesman Edmundo Vencer, in rejecting the call for local peace dialogs in Negros and Panay, accused Mabanta of engaging in “divide and rule tactics” by splitting the regions from the national center of NDF.

Mabanta, however, said there is always room for reconciliation. “Ours is a call for a dialog for peace, a call for unification for the nation,” he added.

They will continue to ask the CPP-NPA-NDF for a localized dialog for peace, which is also supported by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., he said.

“Let us look at the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade as an example on this,” he said, noting the near closure of its peace talks with the government.

President Benigno Aquino III is expected to sign the closure of the peace agreement between government and the RPM-P-RPA-BB Tabara-Paduano Group by the end of this month.

Mabanta said the 3ID is not bringing war to Negros and Panay, but is determined to “win the peace”.

He also said the nation's Internal Peace and Security Plan "Bayanihan" is geared towards a permanent and peaceful end to all armed-conflicts.

Mabanta said they are asking the CPP/NPA/NDF to be more open- minded about the call for local peace dialogs, saying that the Army is just re-echoing the stand of the people of Western Visayas.

“We have been receiving a lot of surrender fielders from NPA members wanting to return to normal life, we know that even within the ranks of the CPP/NPA/NDF there is a call for peace,” he added. *GPB

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