Leftist groups, Makabayan bloc approve resumption of peace talks
MANILA, Philippines – Several left-leaning organizations including party-list groups in Congress have approved the proposed resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NDFP).
According to Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. France Castro, it is a good move for President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to go back to discussions and peacefully end the five-decades long armed struggle of communist rebels, led by armed group New People’s Army (NPA).
Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat meanwhile hopes it is not a trap set by the administration.
“It’s good to return to the nego(tiation) table and talk just peace. Sana i-formalize ito ayon sa procedure, but a welcome move. Sana sincere (I hope they formalize it according to procedure, but a welcome move. I hope it’s sincere),” Castro said in a statement on Friday.
“Sana nga ay matuloy na ang usapang pangkapayapaan at hindi ito isa lamang patibong para sikilin at ikulong ang mga dadalo dito,” Cullamat added in a separate message.
Bayan Muna lawmaker Carlos Zarate meanwhile said they hope that the peace talks would resume where it left off. This was after Duterte on Thursday said he is sending Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to talk with self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison.
“We are of the position that the peace talks would be faster if it would resume where they left off and no preconditions would be imposed,” Zarate said.
“The last document the two (2) negotiating panels agreed was the Stand-Down Agreement that binds the military, the police, and the New People’s Army from hostilities as ‘goodwill and confidence-building measures’ for the previously agreed resumption of the fifth round of talks supposed to be held last June 2018,” he added.
Aside from Bayan Muna and ACT, other groups like Kabataan, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) have also supported the move, calling for a permanent ceasefire to hostilities.
“Bayan supports the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and GRP. The talks should pave the way for a just and lasting peace, not just a temporary ceasefire. The stakes are quite high as the people want the root causes of the armed conflict to be decisively addressed,” Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. said.
“The peace talks are much better than any militarist approach to the insurgency. The all-out war waged by the AFP against the people has targeted mostly civilians. There is a rising number of extra-judicial killings, arrests, involuntary disappearances, displacement of communities and other forms of harassment,” he added.
The talks between the two sides have been going on and off since Duterte assumed office in 2016. During the start of his administration, the President appointed several leftist leaders to his cabinet, but eventually fired them when the groups started criticizing his policies, including the war against illegal drugs.
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