Bataoil wants retired police, military included in peace talks
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – Pangasinan second district Representative Leopoldo Bataoil cited the need to include inputs from retired military officials in the peace process, saying the elderly officials’ enduring desire is for the country to have a “long and lasting peace” before they “rest in peace.”
Bataoil was one of the six congressmen who observed the peace talk process in Norway, said he was making sure that the sentiments of the military retirees will be heard and inputted in the peace talks.
Bataoil, himself a retired police officer, heads the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and has been consulting the elder military officials.
“Having been in service for 33 years in military and police, I share the thought that if there’s a sector that wants peace, its the military and the police. This is because they have seen loss of lives not only within their ranks but of people, and want to put an end to killing of Filipinos by Filipinos so they are hoping for the success of the peace agreement between the government and the insurgency groups,” he said.
Bataoil added that it is important to include the sentiments of the retirees because those active in service listen to them.
He said if the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), doubts the government’s sincerity in the peace talks, there was also doubt on the sincerity of the insurgents to pursue peace.
But he cleared that the doubt is on the government panel but on some military officials because of their past experience that while ongoing peace process is going on, the insurgents find it as an opportunity to building their arsenal and strengthening their ranks through recruitment.
“I share this sentiment to a certain degree because during that period that we were negotiating, their activities are contrary to attaining peace like continuing extortion, harassment of military detachments and collection of revolutionary taxes,”Bataoil said.
But he insisted that sincerity should be expected from both sides, with both controlling their forces on the ground so there would be no violation of the agreement.
“There should be a strong corrective measure to address violations of the peace agreements, as forces on the ground may take it lightly and derail the peace process,” he said.
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