Filipino govt questions Maoist rebels' sincerity on peace talks following Lapanday plant attack

The attack happened despite scheduled peace talks with both parties from May 27 to June 1 to be held in Netherlands.

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The peace negotiating panel of the Philippine government expressed dismay over the surprise attack of the New People's Army (NPA) on a manufacturing company in the country, even as peace talks between both parties are scheduled from May 27 to June 1 in Netherlands.

Philippine peace adviser, Jesus Dureza, was quoted by the Philippine News Agency saying that they are shocked after the attack on Lapanday plant, in spite of peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF making substantial headway.

The Philippine government and NPA rebels withdrew their ceasefire as a result of the sporadic encounters between latter and Philippine foot soldiers in different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte has expressed concerns over on the sincerity of NPA rebels in forging peace with the government and said that those behind the recent attacks could not be trusted.

Early this year, a brand new commercial passenger bus plying the Southern Mindanao route was burned by suspected communist rebels in Makilala town in North Cotabato. Philippine Negotiation Team Chair Sylvestro Bello then appealed to his leftist comrades "to observe restraint."

Bello used to have strong affiliations with the leftist rebels and is preparing for the forthcoming 5th round of talks this month in Netherlands.

While NPA rebels dwindled from 26,000 in the 1980s to 3,200 members across the country based on recent statistics, media reports claimed that an additional 1,000 fresh recruits will be joining the movement. Despite the small number of armed members, the NPA rebels are known for their strategic guerrilla warfare, tactical ambush attacks and grassroot-based ideology, which helped them garner the support of countryside peasants and farmers.

The left-leaning ideologies of the movement are considered as the main reason behind the failure of AFP to control the uprising of the Maoist rebels. While The NPA will be celebrating their golden founding anniversary in 2018, many are still unsure about when and how the final peace pact between the Philippine government and the NDF-CPP-NPA will be forged.