MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is poised to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the termination of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said on Tuesday.
“We the Armed Forces of the Philippines, being part of the Department of National Defense will recommend to the President to terminate the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDF] led by Mr. Sison,” Arevalo said in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.
Arevalo said this is in line with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s earlier pronouncement that he would recommend the termination of peace talks, as the communists do not appear sincere with the negotiations.
Despite this, Arevalo said they would still support localized peace talks through local government units because they know best what is happening within their community.
The negotiations to end the decades-old leftist insurgency in the Philippines face uncertainty anew as the government had suspended the scheduled resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway from June 28 to 30, for three months to review its position and conduct consultations.
Duterte’s men peace spoilers
In a piece entitled “The Public Should Know,” Lorenzana alleged that communists have crafted a three-year plan to advance the revolutionary movement, which includes planning the ouster of the President. He also alleged the communists could not comply with the preconditions set by Duterte, including a stop to recruitment, no arson, no collection of revolutionary taxes, and no coalition government.
But NDFP chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili has denied that they had demanded for a coalition government as claimed by Lorenzana.
“For the record, the NDFP has never put forward any demand for a coalition government,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“At any rate, it looks like the orchestrated lies and attacks of Lorenzana, Año and Roque against Prof. Sison have sounded the death knell on the peace talks under the Duterte regime. The peace spoilers seem to have won the day!” Agcaoili said, following the attacks of Lorenzana, Interior officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque against NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Joma Sison.
The three have blamed Sison for the impasse on the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the government after the prospective fifth round of formal talks has been cancelled for the fifth time last month.
But Agcaoili asserted that it was Duterte who should be blamed for the problems faced by the negotiations.
“Lorenzana, Año and Roque must have been in another planet when GRP President Duterte issued Proclamation 360 terminating the peace talks. That proclamation has never been rescinded impliedly or otherwise,” Agcaoili said.
“In fact Duterte postponed the mutually agreed upon date for resumption of the formal talks on June 28-30, 2018, in Oslo, Norway, which would have been the occasion to remove the impediments put up by the GRP to move the peace negotiations forward,” he added.
The Information Bureau of the CPP also said Lorenzana defines the Duterte government’s so-called anti –peace policy “based on his one-track militarist mindset.”
“To Lorenzana and his ilk of fascists, including Duterte himself, the only solution to the civil war in the country is the military solution. This is the old 1930s dogma promoted by the US military [that] sees profit in every war it instigates and foments,” the CPP said in a statement.
The group also said Lorenzana is a “war promoter and consummate militarist who wants no non-military end to the civil war in the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay assailed the three, including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, for being the main obstacles in the Filipino people’s quest for a just and lasting peace.
“When the government’s only solution to armed conflict and social unrest is all-out war, what usually results is a human and people’s rights catastrophe,” Palabay said.
She noted that more than 20,000 have been killed in the drug war, while civil liberties and basic freedoms including the right of church people to express solidarity for the poor are being trampled on.
“Through Duterte’s counter-insurgency war, at least two are killed and 17 persons are arrested every week. Draconian laws and measures that impact on the right to free expression, privacy and due process are being rushed. Martial law in Mindanao has normalized bombings and attacks against peasant and indigenous communities,” she said.
“Indeed, Duterte and his administration remain as the biggest purveyor of State terrorism and violence. As always and now more than ever, it is incumbent on the Filipino people to fight for just and lasting peace,” she added. (davaotoday.com)