We pin our hopes on President Duterte’s recent statement that he is open to a one-on-one conversation with Prof. Jose Maria Sison, which the latter reciprocated with a welcoming statement.
There is no justification whatsoever for canceling the peace negotiations. The interest of the people must always take primacy. Unceasing patience, wisdom and a genuine love for just peace are necessary elements for the success of the peace negotiations. After all, it is our country’s future that is at stake.
Much has been achieved by both panels in terms of firming up the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms ( CASER ), actually a blueprint not only for resolving the roots of the armed conflict, but for economic measures as well that can lift the national economy out of its current moribund state. These proposals, properly implemented, can introduce changes in the lives of the ordinary Filipino family, mitigate the problem of migration and bring hope to a people who are fast losing hope for redemption from the grave, chronic economic crisis that has plagued our country for decades, brought on a host of social ills and reduced millions of Filipinos into modern-day slaves.
The cancellation of the peace negotiations let loose the floodgates of bloodshed, human rights violations against unarmed peasant communities and indigenous peoples, avarice and arrogance among top government officials. Contrary to the provisions of CASER, the government’s top economic managers have implemented programs like the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) which is now beginning to cause the prices of basic commodities and services to skyrocket well beyond the means even of middle class families.
We sincerely hope that the recent openness of President Duterte and Prof. Jose Ma. Sison to talk will hasten the resumption of the stalled peace process and call on everyone concerned to do their share in realizing our aspirations for a just and lasting peace.
Sharon Cabusao-Silva & Fr. Wilfredo Dulay, MDJ