Drilon, Magsaysay appeal to NDF-NPA Participate in the elections, be sincere

SURIGAO CITY - Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin M. Drilon and former Sen. Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. on Tuesday/March 19 appealed to the Communist-led NDF and New People’s Army not to disrupt the conduct of a peaceful election in May, the first under the Aquino Administration.

“I challenge our fellow Filipinos who are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to participate in the electoral process,” said Drilon, as the LP-led administration coalition candidates barnstormed the Caraga Region, one of the remaining hotbeds of the four-decade-old Communist insurgency.

One of the country’s poorest regions, Caraga is made up of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

“The best and most effective way to change the system is by electing to power the people that we believe will carry out the reforms we all want to see,” added Drilon.

Drilon and Magsaysay also challenged the National Democratic Front, which has held on-and-off peace talks with the government since the 1990s, to “demonstrate utmost sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations.”

The government, the two said, is “resolute in finding ways to achieve lasting peace” in the country.

“Panahon na ng kapayapaan. Tapos na ang digmaan. Let us give peaceful elections a chance,” said Drilon.

During the presidencies of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Drilon was a consultant in the peace panels that were formed to reach out to Communist and Muslim rebels.

Magsaysay, whose father and namesake was instrumental in ending in the fifties the Huk rebellion tied to agrarian unrest, chided what he called wrongful activities attributed to NPA rebels such as imposing “campaign permits” from P50,000 to P5 million on political candidates visiting rebel-influenced areas.

“Team PNoy will not tolerate such activities as it will only worsen the problem on insurgency,” Magsaysay and Drilon said in a press statement.

Magsaysay said the government will “exhaust all means to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” amid reports of the NDF’s insincerity in the stalled peace talks with the government.

“A peaceful Philippines is not impossible under the Aquino administration,” Magsaysay said.

“This is evident in the on-going discussions on the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the Bangsamoro entity in which the first of four annexes have already been signed,” Magsaysay said.

“Team PNoy supports all efforts at ending the conflict in Mindanao. That is why the President needs a majority in the Senate, to ensure the success of the peace negotiations with the MILF, as well as with the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Magsaysay said. ### 

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