National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison condemned recent statements made by the government’s top security officials, accusing them of trying to prevent the resumption of formal peace negotiations.
In a reaction to statements by presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., Sison said President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed his highest military officials to oppose the resumption of the talks.
“Despite the over-all nationwide success of the reciprocal unilateral ceasefire agreement which occurred from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020, the Duterte regime has issued public statements that continue to terminate and prevent peace negotiations and render impossible the resumption of these between the duly-authorized panels of the GRP and NDFP,” Sison said in a statement Saturday, January 11.
Sison said that Duterte’s highest military subordinates, including interior and local government secretary Eduardo Año, national defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana and new AFP chief of staff Filemon Santos Jr., made utterances that they oppose peace and prefer to wage all-out war against the Filipino people instead.
“[T]hey would rather continue the militarization and fascisation of the government and society under Executive Order No. 70,” he said.
Sison said the officials, all retired and active military generals, believe that peace negotiations are not needed because they are already in the process of destroying the New People’s Army (NPA) before 2022.
“They boast that they are open only to surrender negotiations in a Philippine venue under their control. They claim to be satisfied with the psywar (psychological warfare) campaign of fake surrenders, fake encounters and persona non grata declarations,” Sison said.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) chairperson Carlito Galvez dismissed last Friday further negotiations on social and economic reforms with the NDFP, likening the prospective approval of the main agenda of the peace talks to an act of “treason”.
In a news article published by his office, Galvez said the Filipino people do not need the Comprehensive Agreement on Social (and) Economic Reforms (CASER) and Interim Peace Agreement (IPC) that are the proposed bases for the resumption of formal negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
Galvez described the CASER as an “irrelevant proposition and simply a copycat of the programs of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDFP) as outlined in the plagiarized content of Jose Maria Sison’s publication Philippine Society and Revolution.”
He said that adopting the CASER and the IPC could be likened to committing treason since the communists will implement these programs based on their constitution while the government needs to change its charter to apply the reforms.
“CASER is based on an obsolete framework and is no longer relevant since it is largely based on the pre-industrialization and pre-globalization era. It is a formula for the surrender of the national government’s integrity as well as the state’s sovereignty,” he said.
Galvez said the NDFP draft of the CASER has several questionable provisions, including financing national industrialization from confiscated and expropriated assets of “foreign monopoly capitalists, big compradors and bureaucrat capitalists.”
He said the language in which the provision has been framed may “cast a dark cloud over the nation’s economy” and could lead to “the weakening and eventual decline of the country’s economic standing in global markets.”
He also said it is worrisome that the proposed CASER orders the demobilization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the establishment of a coalition government with the communist group by setting up “programs for the People’s Democratic Government.”
“CASER is a product of a secret backchannel maneuver by the communist insurgents. There was zero consultation with the government’s economic team, security forces, local agencies, and local government units, and most importantly, the Filipino people,” Galvez alleged.
Esperon Jr. for his part expressed opposition to the planned revival of peace talks with the NDFP last Tuesday, accusing the CASER of reflecting the NDFP’s “duplicitous character and self-interest.”
Like Galvez, Esperon said the proposed CASER “do not directly reflect the best interest of the nation,” but that of the communist rebels.
“After presenting the objectionable provisions of their proposed CASER, would it be beneficial to the nation that we engage the (communists) in another round of peace talks?” Esperon asked, adding the government is instead pursuing local peace talks.
Last Christmas Day, Parlade also accused the communists of duplicity, particularly CPP founding chairperson Sison and members within the churches.
Parlade said Christmas and its Christian ideals are incompatible with the mindset of communists, accusing them of following the likes of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin he said were members of a satanic cult.
Sison, however, challenged the generals’ claims of economic progress in the Philippines that make economic, social and political reforms through peace negotiations irrelevant.
“The Filipino people are supposed to be already living in an industrialized paradise without social injustices, massive unemployment, low incomes and rampant poverty. The Duterte regime is supposed to be solving all problems and rendering unnecessary peace negotiations,” Sison mocked.
By allowing the officials to openly defy efforts to resume peace negotiations, the Duterte regime is practically telling the Filipino people that peace negotiations are impossible until 2022, he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)