Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate expressed dismay in the delay of the resumption of formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Reacting to Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza’s announcement Thursday that the scheduled formal talks on June 28 is postponed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Zarate said the issue of public consultations can be addressed while the negotiations are ongoing.
“They should not be used as stumbling blocks or preconditions for the resumption of the negotiations,” Zarate said.
The progressive solon added the Filipino people have long supported the peace talks for a just and lasting peace.
“Indeed, addressing the root causes of the armed conflict like landlessness, oppression and exploitation, among others, will certainly get the continued support of the majority of Filipinos,” Zarate explained.
Meanwhile, defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted military and police authorities expressed concerns the New People’s Army will only use the resumption of the peace talks to strengthen their forces, media outfit Rappler reported.
Lorenzana confirmed this were among the issues GRP security forces raised when GRP negotiators briefed Duterte Wednesday, June 13, on the results of the four round of informal talks in The Netherlands.
“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) wholly support the President’s peace initiative. But they also raised the alarm that the peace process could be used by the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to regroup and strengthen their mass base as they have done numerous times before,” Lorenzana told Rappler.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said this was among the matters raised by security officials during the meeting, Rappler said.
Zarate, however, said such delays will only give “peace spoilers and saboteurs” longer time to sabotage the peace process.
“Resume the talks now. It is only those who benefit and profit from the current inequitable and unjust system will not support the peace talks and will do all they can to sabotage it,” Zarate said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)