CPP, other groups welcome possible peace talks resumption

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) welcomed the signing of the Oslo Joint Statement last November 23 in Oslo, Norway by representatives of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) declaring intent to hold formal peace negotiations.

In a statement issued after the simultaneous announcement by both parties and the Royal Norwegian Government as Third Party Facilitator, the CPP said it supports the NDFP Negotiating Panel led by interim chairperson Julieta de Lima, Coni Ledesma and Asterio Palima as well as NDFP National Executive Council member Luis Jalandoni “in their representation of broad democratic interests of the Filipino people” in the prospective resumption of negotiations.

“The Oslo Joint Statement is a first half-step in the long march leading to the resumption of formal peace negotiations, and in the even longer road of achieving the people’s aspiration for a just and lasting peace,” CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena said.

The CPP blamed former GRP president Rodrigo Duterte for wasting gains made by the NDFP and GRP negotiating panels that seemed close to signing major agreements under the social and economic reform agenda of the talks.

Among those set to be signed upon were free land distribution to poor farmers and a stand down agreement before Duterte terminated the negotiations in June 2017, subsequently declaring the NDFP, CPP and the New People’s Army as so-called terrorist organizations in November of that year.

“In his blood-lust, former GRP President Duterte threw ten thousand thorns and spikes at the road of peace and rendered it impassable. With the mistaken notion that the armed revolution can be crushed through sheer armed might, Duterte unleashed his war of state terrorism marked by abductions, torture, murder and massacres,” Valbuena said.

The CPP said Duterte utterly failed as shown by the Marcos GRP’s discussions with the NDFP to possibly resume peace negotiations.

‘Thorns and spikes’

CPP said it is now the “distinct responsibility” of the Marcos government to remove roadblocks that litter the road to peace negotiations.

The revolutionary party said Marcos must release all the NDFP peace consultants to allow them to take part in the discussions and negotiations and rescind the “terrorist” designation of the NDFP, the CPP, the NPA as well as those individually proscribed such as Jalandoni and other personnel of the NDFP.

The CPP said Marcos must withdraw Duterte-issued Executive Order No 70 and Memorandum Order No 32, dismantle the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and repeal the Anti-Terror Law in order for the discussions on possible talks resumption to move forward.

The group added Marcos should also order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to withdraw armed soldiers conducting so-called localized peace negotiations and community support in civilian communities defending their land and democratic rights that are subjected to aerial bombing and artillery shelling.

The CPP also called for the release of more than 800 political prisoners in the country.

Other groups express support

Other groups also expressed support to the signing of the Oslo Joint Communique, asking the parties to prioritize social justice, economic concerns and human rights in the negotiations if the talks resume.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said it welcomes the development as it hopes the peace talks could be a platform to hear out urgent people’ concerns such as landlessness, lack of decent jobs and livelihood and brutal military attacks on civilian communities.

“We advise them to overcome the malicious actions of peace spoilers. This necessarily entails the reversal of presidential proclamations and orders that make it impossible to restart the peace process,” BAYAN added.

Rights group Karapatan also said it welcomes the signing of the document it said should facilitate the reaffirmation of commitments and adherence to previously signed agreements such as The Hague Joint Declaration, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

In a statement, Karapatan also said it hopes for the finalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms and the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms towards the resolution of the root causes of the armed conflict if the talks resume. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)