The Rodrigo Duterte government will only find empty chairs across the negotiating table when it tries to hold so-called localized peace talks.
The National Democratic Front-Panay (NDF-Panay) and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) said they are rejecting government’s latest scheme.
“NDF-Panay and all revolutionary forces in the region totally reject any call for local peace talks with the local bureaucracy or any other entity blessed by the anti-peace liar and chief fascist representative of the ruling class in the country (Duterte),” Concha Araneta, NDF-Panay spokesperson, in a July 7 statement said.
Araneta said that not one region has been enticed and fooled by any reactionary regime to face the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) in the regional, provincial, city or municipal level in order to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the armed conflict.
“Time and again, this divisive scheme has been rejected by the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and all NDFP forces and structures in the regions and provinces of the Philippines,” Araneta said.
Simon Naogsan, CPDF spokesperson, has also said their forces will not participate in any local peace talks with the government.
“Among us (Cordillerans), national oppression is perpetrated by the reactionary state ruled by big landlords, comprador bourgeoisie and US imperialism” Naogsan told The Philippine Star.
“We cannot expect these problems to be answered by local governments,” Naogsan explained, adding they will only support national peace negotiations.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing Thursday (July 12) said the government will allow local government officials to conduct peace talks with communist revolutionaries in their respective areas.
Roque said Duterte made the decision after meeting his Cabinet security, peace, and justice clusters as well as lawmakers and local government officials last July 11.
Roque said the guiding framework for localized peace talks will include the following:
* It will be nationally orchestrated, centrally directed and locally supervised and implemented.
* The constitutional integrity and sovereignty will not be compromised.
* Complete and genuine resolution of the local armed conflict; it shall cover the NPAs, organs of political power and Militia ng Bayan.
* If there is a ceasefire, the constitutional mandate of the state to protect public safety, civilian welfare, critical infrastructure and private properties and the guarantee of rule of law and order will not be compromised at all times.
* Government goodwill, full amnesty package based on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration to the mainstream of society.
* The necessary enabling environment set by the President for the formal local talks to proceed are local venue, no coalition government or power-sharing, no revolutionary taxes, extortion, arson and violent activities and the fighters to remain in their pre-designated encampment areas.
* The substantive agenda will be based on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan and Philippine Development Program 2040.
Roque also said that peace and livelihood packages may be offered to NPA surrenderers.
NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison dismissed Malacañan’s localized peace talks announcement.
“Duterte is really crazy. He wants to negotiate with his own shadow,” Sison said, adding so-called localized peace talks are an old discredited psychological warfare tactic.
Sison said that like reported fake surrender ceremonies using civilians and recycled surrenderers held by the military, local peace and order councils are money-making schemes for local politicians.
“This is a stupid waste of public money. It is a kind of racket, with the local political followers and military agents of Duterte pocketing the money for the fake surrenders [and localized peace talks],” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)