Mounting calls of presidentiables for peace talks, indictment of Duterte’s failed war—CPP

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Information Bureau | Communist Party of the Philippines February 16, 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said mounting calls of presidential candidates for resuming peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines are an indictment of the failed all-out war of the Duterte regime, its National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Yesterday, Sen. Manuel Pacquiao expressly supported the resumption of NDFP-GRP talks in remarks during a forum organized by the Citizens Alliance for Just Peace. Pacquiao said that he understands why the Filipino people are taking up arms and fighting against the government. “Hindi ko po masasabi… kung hindi ako naging boksingero, malamang humawak din po ako ng armas at namundok ako (dahil) sa kahirapan namin noon,” he remarked. (If I did not become a boxer, I don’t know, perhaps I would have also taken up arms and gone to the mountains because of our sufferings then.) Pacquiao also emphasized that people need genuine development and livelihood as a way of addressing the root causes of armed conflict.

In a previous television forum, another candidate, Leody de Guzman, recognized the need to implement genuine land reform to address the injustices suffered by the peasant masses. He also supported the call for resuming peace negotiations and expressed openness to implement the demands of the New People’s Army (NPA) and revolutionary movement.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, both presidential candidates, also earlier called for the resumption of peace talks. They have also expressed openness to calls for the abolition of the NTF-Elcac and the draconian Anti-Terorrism Act of 2020.

“These statements add to the mounting calls of peace advocates and progressive organizations to resume the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations after the proven failure of the Duterte regime’s all-out war against the revolutionary movement,” said Marco Valbuena, the CPP’s Chief Information Officer.

Valbuena added that the six years of Duterte’s war have only resulted in widespread extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests of activists, aerial bombing of communities and rampant violation of human rights, aggravating the people’s situation rather than addressing the roots of armed conlict.

The CPP information officer added that the problems of widespread unemployment and economic development being discussed in the presidential elections are the key questions addressed in the draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms (CASER) which the NDFP has put forward in negotiations. “Land reform and national industrialization, which are the cornerstone programs of the CASER, must be pursued in order to solve the historical and social roots of poverty and economic backwardness which have driven thousands of Filipinos to take up arms and wage revolution.”

“Local peace talks” is not the way

Meanwhile, the CPP slammed Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Sen. Panfilo Lacson who are pushing for “local peace talks” being promoted by Duterte and the NTF-Elcac. Valbuena pointed out that “local peace talks” only serve as a weapon for counterinsurgency.

The so-called “local peace talks,” as opposed to formal negotiations between the NDFP and GRP, are only being used to conduct psywar and intelligence operations against the people and their people’s army. On the pretext of “grassroots engagement,” it aims, attacks and destroys the independent people’s organizations in order to disunite the people and take away their capacity to defend their land, their rights and interests.

Valbuena noted that under the said campaign, superficial “livelihood programs,” road and housing projects, are launched to conceal the fundamental problem of landlessness, uproot the people from their land, and to serve as milking-cow for corrupt military officers.

Rampant rights violations perpetrated by military and police forces under the pretext of “local peace” are driving more people to resist and join the NPA.

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