Not yet time to resume talks with Reds – AFP chief

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File photo of AFP chief General Eduardo Año from Official Gazette.

MANILA, Philippines — It isn’t time yet for government to resume peace talks with communist rebels, who have continued harassing civilian and military targets across the country, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief  General Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, October 10.

At the same time, Año, reacting to a United Nations Security Council report attributing the deaths or maiming of 11 children to the AFP, said the military welcomes complaints against abusive troops but stressed that these should be accompanied by sufficient proof.

“For now, the situation, I think is not conducive to have a peace negotiation (because) instead of doing some confidence measures (or) actions, ang ginagawa nila (New People’s Army) lalo pa nilang pinag iigting yung pag atake (what they do is intensify the attacks),” Año said.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte shared the AFP’s sentiments that peace talks with the communists, which collapsed early this year, can resume when the rebels agree to stop their attacks and agree to a ceasefire.

On the other hand, “regarding (the UN report), the AFP welcomes any complaint just provide us the data, circumstance and we will conduct the investigation. We do not condone any extrajudicial killing or violation of human rights (as) from top up to the lowest unit of our troops in the field, we have designated human rights officers,” Año said.

He also claimed that most complaints are filed by leftist groups and are unverified.

Año suggested that any complaints be filed with the Commission of Human Rights.