MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) denounced Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison over the attack on the convoy of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno, which is being blamed on alleged communist rebels.
Puno was unharmed in the attack in Lupi, Camarines Sur, last Thursday, October 18, but 3 of her police escorts were killed and 3 other cops were wounded.
Around 20 suspected members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) are believed to be behind the attack.
"This violent incident against government officials who are just doing their jobs is a pure act of terrorism that shows the futility of talking to Joma Sison," DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday, October 21.
"When you offer peace with your left hand but shoot with your right hand like what they did to our policemen in Camarines Sur, that's the height of duplicity." (READ: Lorenzana to Joma Sison: Without peace talks, you are irrelevant)
Camarines Sur police chief Senior Superintendent Reynaldo Pawid earlier said Puno does not appear to be the target, and the alleged communist rebels only wanted to fire at police.
Instead of talking to Sison and other communist leaders, Año reiterated that the Duterte administration would rather engage in peace talks on the ground.
"We will pursue localized peace talks in every region where there are communist rebels. Peace and order is our top priority and we will uphold these local peace talks until the last rebel lays down his arms," Año said. – Rappler.com