OPAPP has long been irrelevant

6 mins read

Press Statement
NDFP Negotiating Panel

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has long been irrelevant in the peace process. It has lately been very vocal in opposing the resumption of the peace negotiations, thereby negating the very title of its office, becoming the office against the peace process.

Under retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., the OPAPP has become part of the military’s psywar machinery in attempting to deny the existence of the armed conflict between the forces represented by the GRP and the NDFP. It thus sabotages the process of resolving it through peace negotiations between the two parties with the forging of agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms to pave the way for a just and lasting peace.

From the beginning, General Galvez has been consistent in attacking the peace negotiations and all signed agreements between the GRP and the NDFP, even terminating the appointment of the members of its own negotiating panel and the services of its own Joint Secretariat in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), the body mandated under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) to monitor the implementation of the Agreement. The Joint Secretariat of the JMC has its offices in Quezon City that is supported by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG), Third Party Facilitator in the peace negotiations.

In its latest press release, OPAPP went to extreme length in proclaiming the “successes” of Executive Order (EO) 70. But no amount of drum beating can obliterate the real character of EO 70 as a fascist decree by the Duterte regime to put under military supervision the entire civilian bureaucracy, including its resources, in a vain attempt to defeat the revolutionary forces and people under the so-called whole of nation approach implemented through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In fact, EO 70 is an integral part of the military Operational Plan (Oplan) Kapanatagan that has been terrorizing and wreaking havoc on communities through sustained military occupation and operations; indiscriminate aerial and artillery bombardments of villages; assassination of civilians (Lumad leaders, peasant activists, trade unionists, professionals such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, even local government officials); illegal arrest, detention and torture of suspected supporters/sympathizers of the New People’s Army (NPA); witch hunting or red-tagging of churches, organizations and mass leaders; and other forms of human rights violations.

With a P21B budget, the NTF-ELCAC, under the rubric of localized peace talks and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), has been devising all sorts of money-making schemes to line the pockets of military and police commanders and local bureaucrats such as, among others:

1. buying off (with kickbacks) city and municipal councils into declaring the NPA persona-non-grata in their areas;

2. manufacturing fake surrenderees to obtain the reward and integration monies (as recently exposed in the photoshopped picture of previous surrenderees and the alleged surrender of Alde Salusa, a military agent who killed anti-mining activist Datu Jimmy Liguyon); 

3. appointing paramilitaries Alamara and New Indigenous People’s Army to local councils that extend permit fees to mining and logging companies as well as multinational agribusiness corporations for the exploitation of ancestral lands;

4. renegotiating a bigger amount of “settlement” with the previously surrendered and paid Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group (RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG) in a new agreement called Clarificatory Implementing Document.

OPAPP’s latest press release is also meant to justify the huge increase in the 2020 military and intelligence budget much to the detriment of resources for social services, disaster preparedness and response, and health as proven by the failed response of the Duterte regime to the Taal volcano explosion and the spread of the new Corona virus. Like the AFP, OPAPP is deeply mired in corruption.

Instead of promoting peace negotiations, OPAPP has been demonizing the revolutionary forces, as well as the Chief Political Consultant of the NDF, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, with worn-out lies long debunked by facts and evidence. It is acting against the interest of the people who have been clamoring for the resumption of peace negotiations.

Just as the call for the resumption of the peace negotiations is gathering strength and the Duterte regime appears prodded back to the negotiating table, OPAPP seems hell bent on derailing every effort to resume the peace talks. OPAPP has long lost all credibility as it is exposed to be sinister, corrupt and a saboteur of the Filipino people’s aspirations for a just and lasting peace. It has indeed become irrelevant in the peace process as part of the AFP’s psywar machinery.###

Fidel V. Agcaoili

Latest from News