Lorenzana to Gina Lopez: Ask your NPA friends to 'lay down their arms'
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday, April 22, urged Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to encourage her friends from the New People's Army (NPA) to "lay down their arms, stop all their criminal and terroristic activities, and become legitimate citizens of the Philippines."
"Kung gusto talaga tumulong ng CPP-NPA, bitawan na nila ang kanilang mga armas, itigil ang extortion, at magbalik-loob na sa lipunan," Lorenzana said on Saturday.
(If the CPP-NPA really wants to help, they should lay down their arms, stop extortion, and return to society.)
His statement comes after Lopez was quoted this week as saying she already asked President Rodrigo Duterte if she can work with the NPA, whom she "likes."
According to an Inquirer report, the environment secretary plans to develop Agusan del Sur into an E3 (ecological, economic, and educational) zone.
In August 2016, Lopez said addressing social injustice is needed to bring peace to Mindanao.
Back then, she said she considered the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and former NPA members she had met as "really good people" who are, in fact, "better than some businessmen" who "just want to rape the country."
Lorenzana on Saturday commended Lopez for her commitment to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development in the country.
He said the Department of National Defense is still awaiting official communication on how it can help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources establish the E3 zones across the country.
"The Department of National Defense welcomes all initiatives that will help uplift the lives of our countrymen and bring livelihood to our communities. In fact, the main goal of our Philippine Defense Transformation Roadmap 2028 is the attainment of a more credible defense posture that will lead to national development,” Lorenzana added.
Duterte in February scrapped the peace talks after the NPA halted its ceasefire, but he changed his mind and the camps agreed to reopen negotiations in March. (READ: PH, NDF reopen talks after bitter impasse) – Rappler.com