As Duterte vacillates, NDFP perseveres on peace documents

While President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide whether to resume formal peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) the Reds are hard at work on their draft documents on social and political as well as political and constitutional reforms.

NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said the NDFP has encouraged its peace panel, its Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) and its Reciprocal Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWG-PCR) to continue their drafting work despite Duterte´s scuttling of the fifth round of formal talks last May.

“Indeed, the NDFP Negotiating Panel, the RWC-SER and RWG-PCR have continued their drafting work with the same dedication and enthusiasm as before,” Sison said.

Sison was reacting to Duterte’s statement Saturday that he is again open to resuming formal negotiations with the NDFP after the New People’s Army in Compostela Valley Province released prisoner of war (POW) Senior Police Officer 2 George Rupinta.

“If you (NDFP) want to resume the talks, I am not averse to the idea. But let me sort out first the other branches of government,” Duterte said said after meeting with the freed POW.

Sison said the NDFP consultants and experts who are working on the drafts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR) do not wish to throw away the work they have done on account of Duterte’s withdrawal in the talks.

Sison said the NDFP peace panel is anticipating several possibilities in their ongoing work.

“The Duterte regime itself might in due time find it wise and necessary to resume formal peace talks or it cannot last long in power and it is replaced by a new leadership of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) that is willing to resume the peace negotiations,” he said.

In either case, Sison said the NDFP Negotiating Panel, its RWC-SER and its RWG-PCR cannot be disappointed with having worked hard to do serious research, public consultations and deliberations in order to produce the drafts they would consider worthy of the negotiations and the Filipino people.

Sison said the third possibility is that the Duterte or post-Duterte regime of the GRP is not interested in peace negotiations with the NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict.

“Then the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war simply proceeds until it overthrows the rotten ruling system,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)