The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it remains open to the resumption of formal peace negotiations when President Rodrigo Duterte drops his demand for a bilateral ceasefire with the underground group.
In a statement, the CPP said it is open to peace negotiations with any regime, including Duterte’s, as long at is expresses willingness to seriously discuss the roots of the armed conflict as stipulated in The Hague Joint Declaration between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“The NDFP-GRP peace negotiations can resume if Duterte will drop his earlier precondition of a bilateral ceasefire which became the single biggest factor which terminated the talks,” the CPP Information Bureau in a statement Tuesday said.
“The ball is still in Duterte’s hands,” the group added.
Duterte was quoted by news reports over the weekend saying he is open to resuming peace talks with the NDFP.
“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 after the CPP-led New People’s Army freed its prisoner of war Senior Police Officer 2 George Rupinta in Compostela Province Friday.
The CPP said Duterte is resurrecting talks of peace negotiations as a damage control measure in the face increasing protests against human rights violations across the country and martial law in Mindanao.
The CPP is blaming Duterte for terminating the NDFP-GRP negotiations “because of his stubborn insistence to toe the US line of using peace talks as an instrument for the pacification and capitulation of the revolutionary forces.”
The group added that while they remain open to resuming peace negotiations with the GRP, they are not hopeful for substantive agreements as long as Duterte remains subservient to foreign interests.
“How can negotiations on socio-economic questions go anywhere when Duterte zealously implements neoliberal policies and pushes for such anti-people polices as the Compressed Work Week or 12-hour workday, removal of restrictions on foreign ownership of public utilities, debt-driven infratructure projects, and others?” the CPP asked.
The CPP also questioned the outcome of negotiations on political and constitutional reforms considering Duterte’s counter-insurgency program, including its aerial bombardment campaign in Marawi and other parts of the country.
“Duterte’s triple war (drug war, counter-insurgency and the Marawi crisis) violates the human rights agreement with impunity. He could not even fulfill his vow to release political prisoners now numbering more than 400,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)