THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ), as a member of the national task force formed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte for localized peace processes, will help in the speedy investigation and trial of people involved in the communist armed conflict, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said.
“The DoJ through the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), NPS (National Prosecution Service), and the PAO (Public Attorney’s Office), will help expedite the apprehension, investigation, and trial of those persons who will reject or defy the government’s offer of a peaceful solution to the long-festering problem of local armed conflicts,” Mr Guevarra told BusinessWorld.
The regional and local offices of the NBI, NPS, and PAO will handle the participation of the department, Mr. Guevarra said.
Mr. Guevarra also said that first orders will be given to the NBI.
“Initially, the directive will be issued to the NBI and its field offices to assist the PNP (Philippine National Police) and other law enforcement agents in the detection and apprehension of local armed insurgents, rebels, and terrorists,” he said.
Guidelines for the conduct of speedy investigation and prosecution will come “early next year.”
Mr. Duterte signed on Dec. 4 Executive Order (EO) No. 70, initiating a “whole-of-nation approach” and creating a National Task Force to end local armed conflicts by bringing together different government agencies, local government units, and representatives from the private sector
The whole-of-nation approach would address the root causes of insurgencies and other armed conflicts and threats “by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government.”
Department of National Defense (DND) Public Affairs head Arsenio R. Andolong said the President “intends to end the Communist Terrorist Group in 2019.”
For the Defense department’s part, Mr. Andolong said Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana has ordered to sustain the Focused Military Operations against armed terrorist groups and the implementation of localized peace talks with communist terrorist groups.
“The DND and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) are also working hand-in-hand with the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), PNP, DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform), NHA (National Housing Authority), DoH (Department of Health), Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process), and other agencies in implementing the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, which is processing the return of Former Rebels, who have expressed their sincere desire to rejoin society and live a peaceful life with their loved ones,” he said.
In late 2017, Mr. Duterte ended peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). — Vann Marlo M. Villegas