A National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant condemned “militarists” in the Rodrigo Duterte administration for opposing the possible resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Left and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis in a statement Friday said those opposing attempts to resume the negotiations are afraid that the peace talks would eventually lead to a genuine just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
“This is because they are afraid it might lead to certain agreements for reforms such as the free redistribution of land to peasants and national industrialization,” Baylosis said.
“They also do not want the possible grant of general amnesty to the CPP-NPA and release of political prisoners,” he added.
‘No more talks’
In a strongly worded statement last February 21, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTC-ALCEC) denied the possibility of the peace negotiations being resumed in the last 16 months of the Rodrigo Duterte government.
“There will be no resumption of peace talks with the NDFP now or ever in as far as the Duterte Administration is concerned,” it said.
The task force said peace negotiations with the Left had always been a mistake, accusing the NDFP and its allied organizations, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, of having been insincere from the start.
The Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) in a statement Wednesday, February 24, said it supports the NTF-ELCAC declaration.
“The [DILG] fully supports the position of the [NTF-ELCAC] opposing any move for the resumption of the failed peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF,” DILG officer-in-charge Usec. Bernardo C. Florece, Jr.
Florece added that back channel efforts to resume peace negotiations with the NDFP are futile.
‘Their statements run counter to declarations by Duterte’s emissaries with the NDFP however.
Norway pushes for resumption
Labor secretary and former Government of the Philippines chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III revealed in a two-day online forum last week he and former Pangasinan Rep. Hernani Braganza were supposed to travel to The Netherlands last December to meet with the NDFP.
The trip did not push however as new coronavirus cases spiked in Europe since November.
Bello also revealed the Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GRP-NDFP Peace Process, had been working on back channel talks to resume the stalled formal negotiations.
He added that Duterte is again “very much inclined” to revive the negotiations the President scuttled in June 2017.
NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Juliet de Lima for her part said the planned back-channel talks would resume discussions on an interim peace agreement (IPA) that includes agreements on social and economic reforms.
IPA discussions shall also include possible coordinated unilateral ceasefire declarations as well as modes for their implementation, de Lima said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)