COMMUNIST Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria C. Sison said that the latest call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to permanently end the peace talks with the communist party is nothing new.
“Duterte is like an old broken record repeating ad nauseam his termination of the GRP-NDFP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines] peace negotiations. As far as the NDFP is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” said Mr. Sison in a statement released late Thursday evening, March 21.
The President said on Thursday that he is ending the peace negotiations and told the communist rebels just to talk to the next administration.
“I am officially announcing the permanent termination of our talks between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines,” said Mr. Duterte during the 122nd Philippine Army Founding Anniversary at Fort Andres Bonifacio in Taguig City.
He added, “My sense is that maybe you can talk to the next President of this republic one day.”
The exiled communist leader said that Mr. Duterte is just “merely driving more nails into the coffin of the peace negotiations under his regime” as he continue to use armed conflict as an excuse to impose on the people a de facto martial law nationwide.
“Instead of peace negotiations at the national level by the duly-authorized panels of the GRP and the NDFP, what Duterte wants is fake localized peace negotiations staged and controlled by the military and military-occupied Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Negotiations,” said Mr. Sison.
Mr. Sison said that he is still hoping for the resumption of peace talks under the next administration.
“The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations can be resurrected in the future by a new GRP administration. The Duterte regime is not eternal. It can be finished with the success of the oust movement, with the end of his term in 2022, or with his certain overthrow as he forces his way to a fascist dictatorship,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that cancelling the peace talks was the right move.
“Dapat lang (It should be). Thirty-one years of deceptive ploys using peace talks, across five administrations, only resulted to more terrorist NPAs being released, an opportunity for the CTG [communist terrorist groups] to recruit and recover lost areas of influence, publicity for Joma [Sison] in the international arena as a ‘dove,’ wasted government funds spent for negotiations and junkets, opportunity losses for investments and development because of prolonged and intermittent fighting,” said AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. in a message to reporters on Friday.
Mr. Parlade added, “They had their best chance when peace was offered again to them by PRRD [President Rodrigo R. Duterte], offering cabinet posts in good faith for them to help in good governance but they blew it by attacking projects, killing society forces, and even innocent civilians.”
Malacañang announced on Thursday that a new panel will be created to pursue localized peace talks with members of the communist movement, particularly those fighting on the ground, in line with the government’s new whole-of-nation approach to end the 50-year armed struggle. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras