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2 top Reds arrested in Negros O.

TWO alleged high-ranking communist leaders have been arrested in Bago City, Negros Occidental, police and military officials said Tuesday.

Those nabbed were identified as Aurora Cayon, alias Lilay, of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army National Finance Commission; and Louie Antonio Martinez, alias Louie Castro, national military staff, logistics, of CPP-NPA.

Recovered from them were a caliber .45 pistol, hand grenade, magazines, and ammunition, the military said.

The two were arrested, based on previous warrants, on Oct.19 at 1:30 p.m.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Cayon held several high positions in the CPP-NPA such as executive committee member, finance head of Komiteng Mindanao, second deputy secretary of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, and second deputy secretary of Northeastern Mindanao.

Meanwhile, a new Special Envoy to the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the communist National Democratic Front has been appointed by Norway, its embassy in Manila said Tuesday. 

In a statement, the embassy said Norwegian diplomat Idun Tvedt was appointed as the new special envoy to the peace process, replacing Elisabeth Slåttum, who just ended her three-year term as special envoy. 

Norway has been a facilitator of the peace process between the government and the communists since 2001.

ARRESTED. Top officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines New Peoples Army were arrested by combined operation of CIDG and the Philippine Army in Negros Occidental. The operatives identified the suspects as Aurora Cayon alias ‘Lilay,’ finance officer of  the CPP/NPA and Louie Antonio Martinez alias ‘Louie Castro,’ National Military Staff of the CPP/NPA in a press conference held Oct. 24 2017 at the Camp Crame. Photo shows PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Bato dela Rosa presiding over the conference. Manny Palmero

“As I am sad to see Elisabeth Slåttum go, the appointment of Idun Tvedt is a great encouragement for us. She has a high standing in the Norwegian Foreign Service and her knowledge and experience in peace and reconciliation matters are truly impressive,” Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner said. 

“The team here at the Embassy looks forward to working with her and the parties towards a peaceful solution in the conflict between the GRP and the NDFP,” he added. 

A lawyer by education, Tvedt has made a career in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in human rights and peace and formerly worked at the Norwegian Embassy in Bogota, where she was a member of the facilitation team responsible for the peace process between the Colombian government and the Marxist-Leninist FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). 

The armed conflict between the Philippine government and the communist armed wing has lasted for almost 50 years. 

In a related development, the chairperson of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor on Tuesday lauded the Senate for its support for the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“We laud the initiative of the Senate to support the peace talks. A whole-of-government approach is important for the progress and success of the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front,” said Terry Ridon, chairperson of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor,  on initiatives taken by the Senate to take an active role in the peace negotiations. Bill Casas

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said there was a need for the Senate to take a more active role in the peace process during his meeting with the new Norwegian government special envoy to the Philippines on peace efforts with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. 

“There is a need to involve the Senate in the peace and reconciliation efforts between the Philippines and the NDF because in the end, a law will be need to define the relationship of the parties,” Drilon said in a statement on Sunday.

On Oct. 19, Drilon met with Idun Tvedt and Elisabeth Slattum of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the peace and reconciliation efforts between the Philippines and the NDFP that the Norwegian government has been helping with. 

The senator said Tvedt, the new special envoy to the Philippines on peace and reconciliation efforts with the NDF who is replacing Slattum, is due to arrive in the country Sunday for a two-day trip.

Drilon also expressed his gratitude to the Norwegian government “for supporting the peace negotiations between the Philippine and the NDFP.”

“The Philippines is very grateful to the Norwegian government for acting as a third-party facilitator of the peace process between the Philippines and the NDF,” Drilon told Tvedt.

“Right now the peace process with the NDF is not being discussed formally or informally in the Senate,” he added

Ridon said the minority leader was correct in seeking Senate participation in the peace negotiations, especially in light of negotiations on the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms which will include longstanding reforms such as genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

“Congressional approval is indispensable to enact the genuine agrarian reform bill and create the legal framework for national industrialization. Further, legislation is also needed to strengthen frameworks on environmental protection and natural resources utilization,” said Ridon. 

Topics: High-ranking communist leaders , Aurora Cayon , Louie Antonio Martinez , PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa , Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army , Police , military

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