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Martial rule extension to target NPA and ‘supporters’

President Rodrigo Duterte’s petition to further extend martial rule and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for a full year will target the New People’s Army (NPA) along with other armed groups, his letter to the Senate and House of Representatives (HOR) today revealed.

In his request addressed to both Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and HOR Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte wrote the extension aims “to ensure the total eradication of DAESH-inspired Da’awatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DIWM), other like minded Local/Foreign Terrorist Groups (L/FTGs) and Armed Terrorist Groups (ALGs) and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers.”

Military and police pronouncements repeatedly refer to the NPA as CTs.

Duterte added his request is based on National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s recommendations submitted to him last December 4.

In his original Proclamation No. 216 declarating a three-month martial law in Mindanao at the outbreak of the Marawi City crisis last May 23, Duterte did not include the NPA as among the targets.

In the 150-day extension approved by 245 lawmakers last July 22, however, Lorenzana already identified the NPA as among the targets, accusing the revolutionary group as “taking advantage of the situation.”

Duterte accused the NPA of perpetrating 385 so-called atrocitied that killed 41 and wounding 62 government troopers in 2017, as well as 59 arson incidents that targeted businesses such as mining and plantations.

“As a direct result of these atrocities on the part of the NPA, I was constrained to issue Proclamation No. 360 on 23 November 2017 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NDF-CPP-NPA) effective immediately,” Duterte wrote.

“I followed this up with Proclamation no. 374 on 05 December 2017, where I declared the CPP-NPA as a designated/identified terrorist organization under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, and the issuance of a directive to the Secretary of Justice to file a petition in the appropriate court praying to proscribe the NDF-CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization under the Human Security Act of 2007,” he added.

These recent developments involving the NDF-CPP-NPA forebode another year of intensified armed hostilities which continue to make Mindanao the hotbed of rebellion, Duterte wrote.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo last December 8 promised there would be no martial law abuses should it be extended.

Aravelo added martial law does not target any particular group.

‘Hogwash’

”This is all hogwash, of course,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in reaction to Arevalo’s statement.

Contrary to AFP’s assurances, Duterte’s martial rule in Mindanao victimizes civilians, mostly farmers and Lumad, Palabay said.

“Aside from being expert spin doctors, the AFP has also been consistent in denying their atrocities despite witnesses to their crimes,” Palabay said.

Many organizations in different regions in Mindanao, particularly local peasant and indigenous organizations, are targeted for their campaigns against militarization and for agrarian reform,” she added.

Palabay said that members of the Compostela Farmers Assocation (CFA) in the Southern Mindanao Region (SMR), for example, were targets of illegal arrest and political killings.

“These attacks merely escalated after the declaration of martial law, what with the military’s red-tagging of the group as symphatizers. The latest member of the CFA extrajudicially killed by State forces is Rodrigo Timoteo on November 28, 2017,” Palabay said.

Palabay said that activists and progressive groups have long been targeted by State security forces in line with Duterte’s implementation of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

She added that the situation was made worse by the declaration of martial law that further endangered individuals, groups, and entire communities who struggle and fight for various advocacies.

“Another year of martial law will not be beneficial to anyone, except the fascist military dogs and their equally proudly fascist leader,” Palabay said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte hints talks may still be ‘resuscitated’

President Rodrigo Duterte again hinted the peace negotiations he terminated with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) may still be “resuscitated.”

Speaking at the 84th Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment headed by Secretary Silvestre Bello III in Bulacan Friday, Duterte said the chairperson of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiating panel with the NDFP “and company can always resuscitate it at some other time.”

Duterte said businesses and the military asked him to stop the peace negotiations with the NDFP because of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) revolutionary taxation and attacks against government soldiers.

Sabi ng mga negosyante at mga sundalo, ‘Mayor, ‘wag mo kaming pigilan diyan kasi nauubos na kami.’ So I have to stop the talks,” Duterte said.

“So itong mga Left, mga kausap ni Bebot, they have to agree to stop imposing revolutionary tax. We can subsidize the talks and even the billeting. Ako na ang gagastos, but you [NPA] have to stop [from imposing],” he added.

Duterte said he ordered Bello and the GRP Panel to take a breather to “give time for things to cool [down] with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines).”

“Let’s [again] start to talk, [but] let’s start by raising the level to walang atake. Absolutely,” Duterte said.

Duterte added things actually started with “slight insults” which he could not allow.

E di (curse), tuluyan na natin…The best way there is just to keep silent,” he said.

Duterte’s ‘rampage of killings’

The NDFP however said it is Duterte’s “rampage of killings” along with his declaration of the CPP and the NPA as terrorists that closed the door to the peace negotiations.

In an online forum with peace advocates in Quezon City, NDFP senior adviser and former chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said that while their side is always willing to negotiate with any GRP that is serious in addressing the root causes of the armed conflict, Duterte does not appear to do so anymore.

“The question now is, is there still hope for the peace talks with the Duterte regime? According to [NDFP] chief political consultant [Jose Maria Sison], wala,” Jalandoni said.

Aside from tagging the CPP and NPA as terrorists, Duterte also ordered that all NDFP consultants released for the negotiations are to be arrested and that the so-called legal fronts of the CPP shall be attacked and harassed, Jalandoni added.

Jalandoni said events in the last few days has shown that the Duterte regime is on a rampage of killings, citing the killings of two human rights defenders in Negros Oriental, Pastor Lovelito Quiñones in Oriental Mindoro, Fr. Marcelito Paez in Nueva Ecija, Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao’s staff member in Davao City, and the massacre of eight Lumad in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Jalandoni also cited the arrest of transport leader George San Mateo and the forced evacuation and food blockade of more than a thousand Lumad in Surigao del Sur.

“All these follow the many thousands killed by Duterte’s war against drugs,” Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni said the Filipino people love the NPA for its health and health services in the countryside, as well as its land reform and defense of communities against attacks by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary forces.

“The truth is, it is Duterte who is a terrorist. He has become a fascist, a tyrant against the people,” Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni warned of massive, strong and militant protests against the killings under the Duterte government.

“As in the days under (President Ferdinand) Marcos, ultimately, it will be the people who will decide,” Jalandoni said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Taguiwalo sings and recites poem for Kumander Waling-Waling

Former Department of Social Work and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo performed at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Thursday night honoring 11 martyrs and heroes in the People’s resistance to the Marcos dictatorship.

Taguiwalo sang the song she learned while staying at the house of honoree Coronacion Chiva of Calinog, Iloilo as a member of the underground resistance against the dictatorship.

She also recited the poem she wrote for the legendary heroine and martyr popularly-known in Panay Island as “Kumander Waling-Waling” she composed as a political detainee at Camp Crame.

Peace advocates urge Duterte to return to the negotiating table

An alliance of peace advocates urged President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the negotiating table with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), calling the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’s (GRP) termination of the peace talks “sudden and unjustified.”

Kapayapaan Campaign for a Just and Lasting Peace in a statement also deplored Duterte’s order to re-arrest NDFP peace consultants, threat to tag the NDFP, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorists” and to arrest legal activists he accused of fronting for the communists.

“These constitute a complete turnaround from his avowed policy of talking peace with the CPP-NPA-NDFP to end close to five decades of armed conflict in the country by negotiating much-needed socio-economic and political reforms,” Kapayapaan said.

Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 last week terminating his government’s peace negotiations with the NDFP in the middle of “discreet” preparations for the fifth round of formal negotiations in Oslo where agrarian reform, ceasefire and release of political prisoners agreements were expected to be signed.

“Just peace is an overarching concern for millions of Filipinos. This was the basis for the popular support the peace negotiations enjoyed during the initial months of the Duterte administration, when hopes for significant changes became possible with both sides exhibiting openness to resolve the roots of the armed conflict,” Kapayapaan spokespersons Fr. Benjamin Alforque, MSC and Sharon Cabusao said.

The group also decried “grave obstacles” to the peace negotiations, saying military operations in the countryside continue without let up under Duterte’s counter-insurgency and anti-drug campaigns that have reportedly killed thousands.

“The bombing and destruction of Marawi City is also an additional thorn to the peace process, with calls for justice by the affected victims remaining unheeded by the Duterte administration,” the group added.

Meanwhile, amid Duterte’s tirades against the communists, nine communities in Surigao del Sur have again evacuated due to fears brought about by the presence of Philippine Army soldiers in the area.

Start of crackdown against Lumad communities and schools?

Lumad education group Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) reported Monday at least 244 families, 1,102 individuals from nine (9) Lumad communities in Lianga and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur were forced to evacuate to safety when more than 80 military men were spotted near the communities.

The evacuation affected 406 students and 59 teachers of nine Lumad schools who are now staying in another community, TRIFFPS reported.

“Under Duterte’s Martial Law, the situation worsened. Duterte threatened to bomb Lumad schools and communities. This is no different from Aquino’s term where the massacre happened back in September 1, 2015. The Lumad evacuated for a year in Tandag City after the killing of their teacher and leaders by paramilitary forces who accompanied the 75th IBPA in their military operations,” the group said.

The affected communities are located within the Andap Valley Complex targeted for coal mining and are refusing to allow these companies to operate in their ancestral lands, TRIFFPS said.

Coal mining contracts in Andap Valley Comlex have been awarded by the Department of Energy to Benguet Mining Corp., Great Wall Mining and Power Corp., Consolidated Ores Phils. Inc., Abacus Coal Explorations and Development Corp., PNOC, and ASK Mining and Exploration Corp, the group added.

Save Our Schools Network image showing photos of suspected military surveillance agents near the Lumad schoolchildren camp out in Pasig City.

In a related development, Lumad schoolchildren camped out at the Department of Education (DepEd) main office in Pasig City expressed alarmed at the presence of motorcycle-riding men they suspect of conducting surveillance operations against them over the weekend.

Rius Valle, SOS Mindanao Spokesperson, said the harassment is part of harass Duterte’s threats of crackdown against suspected CPP sympathizers.

“If they just want to know what the Lumad students and teachers are fighting for, they only need to talk to us. But what is alarming is they take pictures without our permission while riding in motorcycles without plate numbers and usually with face mask. They wouldn’t do that if they don’t have malicious intentions” Valle said.

“Before, only DepEd security personnel are taking pictures without our permission. Shortly after Duterte’s crackdown threat against suspected CPP allies, men riding in motorcycles without plate numbers are also harassing us,” Valle added.

Sabotaged peace process

Kapayapaan said such actions only sabotage the peace process and hamper confidence and goodwill measures carried out by the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels during the initial months of the Duterte Presidency.

“Such actions are harmful to the people do not and never will constitute a favorable environment for the peace negotiations which the government panel itself has repeatedly tried to set as a precondition for resuming the peace process,” Kapayapaan said.

Kapayapaan added that the reported escalation of armed clashes between government troops and the NPA throughout the country following Duterte’s termination of the peace talks is all the more reason to return to the negotiating table.

“Kapayapaan urges the Duterte administration to return to the peace table and do the hard work of hammering a peace agreement acceptable to both sides and to the Filipino people and avert the prolongation of a civil war fuelled by long-standing social injustice and violations of the people’s democratic rights,” the group said.

Kapayapaan likewise urged the Filipino people “to continue to champion the cause of just and lasting peace, and resist efforts to foster the peace of the graveyard that result from warmongering, saber-rattling and authoritarian rule.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Killings, evacuations, rights violations on weekend after talks termination

The ink has yet to dry on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 360 signed last Thursday but killings and harassments of activists, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders have already increased over the weekend.

An activist was gunned down in Duterte’s hometown, Lumad communities evacuated in Surigao del Sur, and a human rights worker was beaten up inside a military camp in Northern Samar in what could be an unfolding of what Duterte meant when he barked, “Let’s just wage war.”

An urgent alert from human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region reported suspected members of the 16th Infantry Battallion of the Philippine Army shot dead 64-year old Anakpawis Party member Apolonio Maranan near his house in DDF Village, Barangay Mandug, Buhangin District, Davao city before Saturday evening.

According to the victim’s wife (name withheld), she heard a series of gunfire five minutes after her husband left at about 7:49 pm left to buy dinner.

The wife then immediately asked her son (name also withheld) to check but found Apolonio bathed in blood and dead.

Apolonio was an active member of Anakpawis Partylist and a local campaigner of Congressman Ariel Casilao during the 2016 national elections, Karapatan said.

Near midnight Saturday, two masked motorcycle-riding gunmen strafed the store of Imelda Gagap, 48 year-old former Brgy. Chairperson of Maraiging, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, a peasant organization reported.

The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said Gagap, an active member of UMA-KMP, was attacked because she is a critic of the 29th Infantry Battallion-Philippine Army operations in their community.

Despite military presence in the community, the gunmen escaped unmolested, UMA said.

Another Lumad evacuation

Another urgent alert, this time from Karapatan-Caraga, said residents from 12 Lumad communities in Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga and Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, both in Surigao del Sur evacuated due to military operations Sunday.

“At 1 pm today, November 26, at least 706 students and 51 teachers of nine Lumad schools evacuated yet again after three truckloads of soldiers arrived and set up checkpoints near their communities.

The soldiers reportedly required residents to write their names on a logbook as they pass through.

Soldiers were also seen in Km. 16 and Han-ayan in Lianga while a drone was reportedly seen flying over the communities Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Residents from said communities, including students and teachers from Lumad schools in the area, have repeatedly been subjected to military operations and forcible evacuation during the Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno Aquino and the Duterte governments.

On September 1, 2015, two Lumad leaders and a school executive were murdered by paramilitary groups assisting soldiers in their operations in the communities.

Human rights worker under peril in Northern Samar

Northern Samar human rights worker Sargei Macallan.

As these developed, another human rights group, Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas-Catarman Chapter, issued an alert saying its president Sargei Macallan was choked Sunday afternoon by a military officer inside the 20th Infantry Batallion camp in Catubig, Northern Samar.

In a Facebook post, Macallan said he was punched on the chest and held by the neck three times by Lt. Colonel George Domingo, commanding officer of the military unit.

“Alert: dinibdiban at sinakal ako ni LTC George Domingo ng CMO Battalion habang nasa Opong detachment ako para makipagdialogue. NEED HELP,” Macallan posted late Sunday afternoon.

Macallan and other Katungod staff went to the camp to provide legal assistance to three farmers reportedly abducted by the military Saturday in Palapag town.

The three farmers were members of the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association, who in recent weeks have been publicly tagged by the 20th IB as a legal front to the New People’s Army NPA, the revolutionary armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The farmers are being held inside the said military camp.

Earlier, Macallan complained of receiving threats from unknown persons who repeatedly told him his whereabouts were being traced.

Last week, a certain DJ Whisper, anchor of a radio program sponsored by the 20th IB in Las Navas town also publicly accused Macallan as a NPA supporter.

After the reported manhandling by Domingo, Macallan proceeded to Catubig Police Station to file a report incident.

On his way out of the station, however, Macallan said he noticed two motorcycle-riding men casing the area, forcing him to go back inside.

A quick reaction team of fellow human rights workers from the capital town of Catarman later arrived to accompany Macallan at the station but were prevented by the police to enter, “because of orders from above.”

“I was really afraid, but I forced myself to focus on keeping myself as safe as possible under the circumstances,” Macallan told Kodao in an online interview.

Macallan is still at the police station as of this writing, waiting for rescuers to fetch him.

Duterte signed Proclamation 360 Thursday terminating peace negotiations with the NDFP as he repeatedly threatened to conduct mass arrests against activists he accuses of supporting the NPA.

In a statement Sunday, the Commission on Human Rights vowed to look closely into reports of human rights violations following Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ threats to wage all-out war against the NPA and alleged supporters. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

 

 

Peace talks a casualty of the Trump-Duterte meeting?

By Arnold Padilla/IBON Features

President Rodrigo Duterte’s hosting as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings solidified the sort of foreign policy that his administration will chart throughout its term. It is one that critics have already pointed out as still dependent on the patronage of the big powers and continuously shaped by their interests. The ASEAN events also reminded the public of how the US remains a dominant force in the region, especially in the host country even as China poses a serious challenge.

Scuttled

Pres. Duterte’s face-to-face meetings with US President Donald Trump at the ASEAN events in Manila and bilaterally on its sidelines appear to already have had an impact. Less than a week after his meeting with Trump, the country’s Chief Executive suddenly announced that he planned to classify the New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist group. A formal declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as terrorist would automatically terminate the peace talks between the two parties. Soon after, he also decided to end “all planned meetings” with the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

 Since August 2002, the CPP-NPA has been on the list of supposed foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) of the US State Department for representing a threat to US national security (i.e., national defense, foreign relations, and economic interests). The US maintains the list as part of its war on terror. An FTO designation, according to the State Department, “signals to other governments our (US) concern about named organizations.”

It is likely that Pres. Duterte’s initial willingness to negotiate a peace agreement with the NDFP did not sit well with the US. When the NDFP and government peace panels agreed to recommend the delisting of CPP founding chairperson Prof. Jose Ma. Sison as an international terrorist as part of the peace talks, the State Department maintained that the CPP-NPA is still an FTO as far as the US is concerned.  

But even before this latest declaration by Malacañang, the peace talks between the Duterte government and the communist rebels was already increasingly rocky and uncertain. This, as the President started to warm up with Trump since the controversial Republican took over the White House from Barack Obama in January this year. In May, the Philippine government unilaterally cancelled the supposed fifth round of formal negotiations just as this was about to start. Reportedly, this aborted fifth round was set to resume last weekend until, again, Pres. Duterte’s unilateral last minute cancellation.

Master’s orders

During the bilateral meeting between Pres. Duterte and Trump at the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings, the US chief executive promised to continue US military support and assistance for the fight against terrorism. The two leaders also agreed to enhance their counterterrorism cooperation through more military exercises, increased information sharing, and by addressing the “drivers of conflict and extremism”. It is likely that the US discouraged the Duterte government from continuing peace negotiations with ​the US government-designated FTO.

The amount of attention that Trump enjoyed during his visit not only from the national media but from the host itself illustrates that the neocolonial bond between Washington and Manila is far from severed. While the President may have said it in jest, his statement that he crooned at the ASEAN gala dinner “upon orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States” pretty much sums up the substantially unchanged relationship between the US and the Philippines under a Trump-Duterte regime.

In the past decade (2006 to 2016), American businesses have invested US$4.1 billion or 10.3% of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) that flowed into the domestic economy, the second biggest among all foreign investors. The US is also the second largest market for products from the Philippines, accounting for US$89.2 billion or 15.6% of the country’s total exports in the past 10 years. Furthermore, remittances from overseas Filipinos based in the US are the largest among all countries, reaching US$89.4 billion in the past decade or 40.4% of the total. Lastly, the US has also disbursed a total of US$2.1 billion in economic assistance from 2006 to 2016. In a joint statement following their bilateral talks, the US and Philippine heads of state also pledged to expand and deepen US-PH economic ties, especially in the area of free trade.

But as crucial as the economic relationship between the two countries is and while the US continues to shape the country’s economic direction, the more visible, not to say more controversial, aspect of US presence and intervention in the Philippines is in the area of military cooperation. This is characterized by the uninterrupted rotational (thus permanent) deployment of American troops in the country and the construction of military facilities to base them, the annual war exercises between Filipino and American armed forces, the frequent port calls of US warships, American participation in local military operations, and provision of US military aid. As Trump said before he left the country, he considers the Philippines “a most prime piece of real estate from a military standpoint.”

From 2006 to 2016, the US has disbursed a total of US$610.5 million in military assistance to the Philippines. The annual figures are increasing significantly in recent years. In the past three years, for example, US military aid to the Philippines is expanding by more than twice the pace of its economic aid (46.8% yearly growth vs. 20.6%). In 2016, Manila got the largest military aid (US$141.2 million) from the US Defense department among all 21 recipient countries in the East Asia and Oceania region.

This year, the US has so far provided more than Php2.2 billion in military assistance that include various military articles, based on news reports. These include the Raven tactical unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV system (Php60 million); 25 combat rubber raiding craft and 30 outboard motors (Php250 million); 200 Glock pistols, 300 M4 carbines, 100 grenade launchers, four mini-guns, and individual operator gear (Php250 million); two C-208 Cessna aircraft (Php1.6 billion); a Tethered Aerostat Radar System or TARS (about Php40 million); and 1,000 M40 field protective masks.

Biggest casualty 

And while the peace talks with the NDFP is likely a casualty of the Trump-Duterte meeting to push the US’ anti-terror agenda and justify its continued military presence and intervention in the country, the biggest casualty of a final termination of the peace negotiations (if Duterte will indeed declare the CPP-NPA-NDFP as terrorists) is the prospect of genuine social, economic and political reforms addressing the roots of armed conflict in the country. It is regrettable because both panels recognize that this is the farthest that they have gone in the history of peace negotiations.

Duterte signs Proclamation 360 terminating talks with the NDFP

Malacañan announced President Rodrigo Duterte signed Thursday afternoon Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ (GRP) peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“This is to announce that the President signed this afternoon, November 23, Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – The New People’s Army (NPA),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement released to reporters tonight said.

The statement reiterated Duterte’s directive to Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the GRP Panel for the peace talks with the NDFP to cancel peace talks and meetings with the NDFP.

Malacañan again blamed the NDFP, CPP and NPA for engaging in “acts of violence and hostilities” for the decision.

“We find it unfortunate that their members have failed to show their sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations,” the statement said.

Malacañan added Duterte wanted to “leave a legacy of peace under his administration,” adding he has walked the extra mile for peace.

“Rest assured that he will continuously pray that we may all find the peace that we seek for our beloved country in the fullness of God’s time,” the statement said.

The GRP has yet to give the NDFP a copy of the proclamation.

According to The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the peace negotiations may only be deemed formally terminated 30 days after a formal written notice is given by one party to the other.

Last February, Presidential Peace Adviser to the Peace Process Jesus Dureza also tried to cancel the peace negotiations through an electronic mail sent to the NDFP, which the NDFP refused to acknowledge as it was “improperly addressed.”

Dureza’s February 7 should have been sent to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDFP as the Negotiating Panel and its consultants draw their authority from the NEC of the NDFP based in the country,” NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili reminded Dureza then.

“The original of the letter should also be sent by mail or courier to the NDFP Information Office in The Netherlands to be formally received by the NDFP Negotiating Panel,” Agcaoili explained.

The NDFP has yet to issue a statement on Duterte’s termination proclamation.

Earlier tonight, NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said Duterte is “hell-bent on frustrating the people´s clamor for peace negotiations to address the roots of the civil war through the adoption and implementation of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace.”

“The (Duterte) regime is striving to intimidate the people with its own terrorist scheme and crimes in order to seize absolute autocratic power for Duterte and limitless opportunity for the bureaucratic corruption of his family and ruling clique,” Sison added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

People have no choice but wage all forms of resistance, Sison warns Duterte

National Democratic Front of the Philippines Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said the Filipino people are left with no choice but to resist the country’s “number one terrorist” who is setting up a “fascist dictatorship”: Rodrigo Duterte.

In a strongly-worded statement following his former student’s threats against the Left, Sison said Duterte is culpable for the abduction, torture and mass murder of an increasing large number of poor people suspected of being drug users and pushers.

Sison added Duterte is also culpable for the murder of peasants and indigenous peoples in suspect guerilla fronts and Moro people suspected of aiding the Dawlah Islamiya from the time of the indiscriminate bombing of Marawi Cuty to the present in several Bangsamoro areas.

“Duterte´s bloodlust and mania for mass murder are boundless,” Sison said Thursday.

Reacting to Duterte’s latest threats to label the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorists and to arrest activists, Sison slammed Duterte as “utterly malicious and shameless.”

Sison said Duterte expects to wipe out through arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite detention and massacre of suspected revolutionaries and legal social activists both the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic movement in order to set up a fascist dictatorship.

Duterte also cancelled “planned meetings” for the resumption of formal peace negotiations with the NDFP.

In a speech before soldiers in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija Wednesday, Duterte again threatened to tag all so-called legal fronts of the New People’s Army as criminals and have them arrested for conspiracy even as he reiterated he would soon declare the NPA as a terror group.

“We will treat you as criminals. We will arrest you, including legal fronts, legal fronts helping to topple government…sow terror,” Duterte said.

But Sison said it is Duterte who is “already discredited as a mass murderer, political swindler, a sycophant to foreign powers and a corrupt bureaucrat.”

These characteristics as well as the so-called chronic crisis of the ruling system in the Philippines will limit Duterte’s ability to stay in power and will only accelerate the growth and rise of a revolutionary united front against “his rule of greed and terror,” Sison added.

“As when Marcos imposed fascist dictatorship on the Philippines in 1972,  the revolutionary forces, the legal democratic forces and the broad masses of the people now have no choice but to wage all forms of resistance and fight for national sovereignty, democracy, economic development, social and cultural progress and independent foreign policy,” Sison said.

The CPP founder said the people and revolutionary forces are forced to intensify the “people´s war” through an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare in rural areas and partisan or commando operations in urban areas.

“The legal democratic forces and broad opposition have no choice but to develop the underground and encourage endangered activists to become fighters in the people´s army (NPA),” he added.

Sison also alleged there are already rumblings against the “despotic, criminal and corrupt” character of the Duterte regime even within the armed forces and police.

“Duterte is now worried to death by his own fear that anti-Duterte officers within his own army and police are inclined to act in the name of the people and unite with the broad opposition and mass movement in order to end the Duterte regime in the same manner that the Marcos and Estrada regimes were ended,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Dureza announces cancellation of ‘meetings’ with the NDFP

Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process Jesus Dureza today announced the cancellation of “planned meetings” with the communists, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest pronouncements against the Left Tuesday.

In a statement, Dureza said the cancellation is due to recent violent incidents reportedly committed by the communist rebels.

“We are hereby announcing today the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front [of the Philippines]) in line with President Duterte’s directive that there will be no more peace talks with them,” Dureza’s statement said.

It is the first time the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) admitted meetings with its counterpart had been afoot.

Dureza said the cancellation is an “unfortunate development” as their negotiations with the NDFP have already reached far.

Both parties were set to finalize their negotiations on agrarian reform and rural development when Duterte cancelled the scheduled fifth round of formal talks in The Netherlands a few hours before it was set to begin last May.

Dureza again blamed the communists’ unwillingness to reciprocate “unprecedented steps” Duterte has taken to revive the peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The NDFP for its part has repeatedly said earlier they refuse to sign another open-ended bilateral ceasefire agreement without agreements on social and economic as well as political and constitutional reforms.

The NDFP said Duterte is only interested in forcing the NPA to an indefinite ceasefire without addressing the root causes of the armed conflict such as poverty and inequality.

A source told Kodao that Dureza’s announcement is not a termination of the entire GRP-NDFP peace process, citing the lack of a formal notification from one or both parties submitted to the Royal Norwegian Government, the Third Party Facilitator of the talks.

The NDFP has yet to reply to Dureza’s latest statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte backtracks on peace talks again

President Rodrigo Duterte announced he has decided to stop talks with communists despite efforts by both Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panels to resume formal peace negotiations soon.

In his speech Tuesday night in Taguig City before families of soldiers killed in the five-month siege of Marawi, Duterte said he has decided to “cut talks with the NPA (New People’s Army),” armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as of Monday, November 20.

Sinabi  ko kay [Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus] Dureza, pati kay (Government of the Republic of the Philippines chief negotiator Silvestre] Bello, ‘You tell the guys there in The Netherlands I am no longer available for any official talks. Gyera na lang tayo,’” Duterte said.

Duterte blamed the communists for issuing “unreasonable demands” while ignoring his own demand for a “stand down”.

Duterte added he would push through with his decision to tag the CPP and the NPA as “terrorists” like what the United States government did.

“I will follow America. Tutal sinasabi nila amboy (American Boy) daw ako. Kailan pa ako naging amboy? ‘Duterte, US fascist.’ O, e, di sige, granted. I will admit it, pasista ako. So I will categorize you already as a terrorist,” he said.

Duterte also said he would go after all mining companies which he accused of giving the NPA money through bank-to-bank transactions as well as legal organizations and activists “fronting” for the CPP.

Fascist rants and acts

Yesterday, however, the CPP Public Information Bureau in a statement said the threat to tag the NPA as terrorists and to crackdown on activists is just Duterte’s way of hinting his inclination to extend martial law in Mindanao beyond December 31 in accordance with the wishes of the military.

“Duterte is nothing if not consistent in his fascist rants and acts, using even the tired excuse of the progressive Left ‘conspiring’ with the NPA, to constantly kowtow to the wishes of the higher echelons of the US-controlled armed forces,” the CPP said.

“Duterte is wrong in thinking that the revolutionary movement will just roll over and surrender in the face of his rants,” the underground group added.

Peace talks resumption

The NDFP Negotiating Panel, for its part, has yet to issue a statement on Duterte’s latest tirade against their group and its effects on efforts to resume formal peace negotiations.

Duterte himself hinted he would resume peace negotiations with the NDFP in a speech at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental last October 20.

“I have to talk to the NPA still,” Duterte said.

Malacañang also released a photo of Duterte meeting GRP negotiators and consultants last October 19 that hinted of the possible resumption of either backchannel talks or formal rounds of negotiations with the NDFP within the year.

The Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, also appointed Diplomat Idun Tvedt as new special envoy that raised hopes for the resumption of the talks.

Inquirer.net reported Tvedt was to visit the Philippines last October to talk to the parties for a possible resumption of formal negotiations in Oslo in November or December. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)