Rebel Spokesman Offers Package of Proposals
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A negotiator for Communist rebels today presented 10 ″principles and proposals″ for discussion at peace talks, but said prospects for agreement were dim unless the government changes its stance.
The negotiator, Satur Ocampo, criticized the government’s agenda for the talks as ″very narrow.″ He also said the rebel New People’s Army will not lay down its arms until the ″very last″ stage of peace negotiations.
The military meanwhile said four marines were shot to death and two others were wounded in an incident apparently unrelated to the 17-year insurgency by the New People’s Army.
Brig. Gen. Arturo Asuncion, deputy regional commander on Mindanao island about 500 miles south of Manila, said today that the marines’ guide opened fire on them as they rested after completing a patrol round.
Asuncion said one marine returned fire and killed the guide, Isabelo Bautista, a member of the paramilitary Civilian Home Defense Force. He denied Bautista was a Communist spy and said he was suffering from malaria, but offered no other explanation for the shooting.
He said the shooting occurred at 1 a.m. Wednesday in the coastal town of Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte province.
In a speech to church and business leaders, Ocampo said the rebels would offer 10 points for discussion when a second round of peace talks begin Tuesday. The first round produced a 60-day cease-fire agreement that took effect Dec. 10.
The discussion points included termination of ″unequal treaties″ with the United States, a ″freedom-loving″ foreign policy, creation of a ″pro- people″ armed forces and education system, establishment of a ″nationalist and popular government,″ and respect for democratic rights and ethnic and religious minorities.
Land reform, employment guarantees and establishment of a ″nationalist and popular government″ are also on the list.
″As you see, we have a very broad framework,″ Ocampo said. ″They have a very narrow one, and unless we solve that problem, we cannot (come together).″
Government negotiator Teofisto Guingona said this week that his side will offer economic and social concessions, such as rural development, and ″amnesty with honor″ for rebels who lay down their arms.
Guingona made no mention of fundamental political concessions and said any agreement on the future of U.S. bases in the country could not ″go beyond″ a draft constitution. The constitution, which faces a referendum Feb. 2, would allow the bases to stay until the treaty governing them expires in 1991 and then beyond if the Philippine Senate and people approve.
″If this position hardens, then the prospects will be dim for achieving solution,″ Ocampo told reporters after his speech.
President Corazon Aquino also has ruled out any coalition government with the rebels.
Ocampo denounced government plans to offer cash payments to rebels who surrender with their weapons, saying it ″would be disruptive of the peace talks.″
″It would be like bribing the NPA during the time that we are talking about how to resolve the problem,″ he said. ″That is not the spirit of the negotiations.″
Ocampo is a member of the Communist-dominated National Democratic Front, which has been representing the New People’s Army at peace talks.