Ex-rebels warn Marcos admin vs peace talks resumption with Reds

Ex-rebels warn Marcos admin against resuming talks with Reds

/ 01:05 PM December 14, 2023

Ex-rebels warn Marcos admin vs peace talks resumption with Reds

Rebels. INQUIRER File Photo

TACLOBAN CITY — A group of former communist rebels has called on the government to be extra cautious in its plan to reopen peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

In a statement released on Dec. 11, former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao urged the national government to pay close attention to the challenges and complexities involved in the peace process.


“The recently concluded talks and signed communique between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front is a welcome development. We express our support for the revival of the peace talks, but we would like to raise some crucial reservations,” the statement said.


READ: Gov’t, communists agree to revive peace talks

It added: “While the progress in dialogue is commendable, it is essential to approach this renewed engagement with keen awareness. The sincerity and commitment of the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army)-NDF in ending armed struggle must be a central focus during these talks.”

The statement was signed by 51 individuals who were either rehabilitated NPA members or leaders of groups tagged by the government to be in front of the CPP-NDF but have returned to the folds of the law.

In Eastern Visayas, where the problem of insurgency remains a major problem, among the signatories were Alma Gabin, once the deputy secretary for education of the CPP in the region; Rey Christian Sabado, also a former deputy secretary for education of the CPP- front committee 2; and Napoleon Escalona, former president of Kadamay, an urban organization based in Tacloban City identified by the Army as among the fronts of the CPP-NDF-NPA in the region.

READ: Demands by communist rebels may derail peace talks – Galvez

Considering the past experiences of the government in previous and failed peace talks, the group said it was necessary to conduct a meticulous examination of the new framework and agendas proposed.


“It is crucial to ensure that the lessons learned from past negotiations inform the shaping of a more effective and inclusive approach,” it said.

“There should be a genuine exploration of their potential for transformation and reintegration into mainstream society, ensuring the dignity of their involvement in addressing social, political, and economic issues through peaceful means,” they added.

READ: Romualdez on reviving peace talks with NDF: It’s not a political maneuver

The group also reminded the government that the CPP-NDF-NPA should not set conditions and demands like releasing political prisoners before entering the peace talks with the state.

“We stress that no political prisoners should be released, and in the absence of a fully operational NDF peace panel and consultants, the appointment of new consultants becomes a prerequisite for the progress of the peace talks,” they said.

They said the communist group should also be barred from recovering their lost bases and party buildings.

“(We) advocate for prioritizing localized peace engagement over national peace talks to more directly address burning issues affecting communities. This approach can lead to a more nuanced and responsive resolution to the root causes of conflict,” they said.

READ: Gov’t urged: Free political prisoners as show of good faith

The group hoped that their stand would be taken into consideration by the Marcos administration, which is leaning toward another peace talk with the hope of ending the more than 50 years of communist armed movement in the country.

“We hope that negotiations lead to a just, humane, and lasting peace in our country,” they said.

President Marcos earlier granted amnesty to select members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front.

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He also touted that peace talks with the NDFP would continue after former President Rodrigo Duterte stopped talks with the group in 2018.


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