While it is still open to peace talks should the Manila government decide to resume the cancelled negotiations, the main task of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is to work for Rodrigo Duterte’s ouster, Prof. Jose Maria Sison said.
In a statement, Sison said the NDFP is authorized to be open to peace negotiations with either the current government or its replacement, but “its principal work now is to work for the ouster of the Duterte regime” and help bring an end to the country’s worsening social, economic and political crises.
Sison warned that the Duterte government is on track to only aggravate the socio-economic and political crises in the country by imposing heavier taxes and causing high inflation while surely failing to curb government corruption in 2019.
“Within the year, the Duterte regime will further inflict grave social and economic suffering on the people and unleash mass murder and other human rights violations in a futile attempt to destroy the armed revolutionary movement and intimidate the people,” he said.
“The state terrorism will victimize not only the toiling masses of the people but also the middle social strata and even those in the upper classes who do not belong to the small and narrow ruling clique of Duterte,” Sison added.
Sison also warned of the possibility of a “no-election” scenario in May 2019 should Duterte decide to impose “a fascist dictatorship ala Marcos by using de facto or proclaimed martial law nationwide” and the railroading of charter change for a bogus kind of federalism.
If such a scenario happens, Duterte is capable of centralizing power in his hands and would handpick his regional and provincial agents among the local dynasties and warlords, Sison predicted.
Not peace, but surrender
Personalities close to Duterte said the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDFP is still possible.
In a press briefing at Malacañ last Thursday (December 27), government chief negotiator and labor secretary Silvestre Bello III said it is still “possible” to go back to the peace table with the NDFP.
“Anything is possible. The President’s commitment to our country is inclusive and lasting peace for our country. If it means resuming the peace negotiations, why not?” Bello said.
Bello, however, admitted that the government has shifted towards its so-called “local peace talks.”
No New People’s Army (NPA) unit has yet come forward to agree to the government’s revived proposal.
Former special assistant to the President, Christopher “Bong” Go also appealed to the NDFP not to close the door to the resumption of the negotiations.
“I call on the NPA to trust President Duterte. There is no other leader like him who will sincerely talk peace with you,” Go told reporters in San Andres town, Quezon province last December 17.
Duterte, however, recently ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to destroy the Communist movement in the Philippines as evidenced by his refusal to reciprocate the NPAs unilateral ceasefire declarations in time for Christmas, the new year, and the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) 50th founding anniversary celebrations.
Five tasks in 2019
“Duterte is not interested in serious peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and make comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said.
“What he wants is the impossible, which is the surrender of the revolutionary movement of the people,” he added.
Sison said that in view of Duterte’s anti-people governance and anti-peace stance, the people expect five things from the revolutionary movement:
- The CPP will perform its overall leading role in the people’s democratic revolution, “promptly, correctly and clearly”;
- The NPA will intensify its tactical offensives to defeat the campaign of the enemy to destroy it while carrying out agrarian revolution and mass work;
- The various types of mass organizations will be expanded as the source of strength of the CPP, NPA and the people’s democratic government;
- The people’s democratic government will be strengthened to take charge of administration and programs for the benefit of the people, such as land reform, public education, production, health and sanitation, cultural work, defense, arbitration and people’s court, environmental protection and disaster relief; and
The NDFP will further strengthen itself and cooperate with all possible allies in the broad united front in order to isolate and oust the Duterte regime from power. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)