CAGAYAN DE ORO. A group of Red fighters take a break under the shade of decades-old acacia trees at the old town plaza in Barangay Mananum Bag-o, Medina town, Misamis Oriental during the 48th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Monday, December 26. (Joey P. Nacalaban)
MEDINA, MISAMIS ORIENTAL -- A peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) yesterday said the Left will not shirk from criticizing government policies it sees as detrimental to the interests of the people despite its alliance with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Speaking at the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Alfredo ‘Ka Paris’ Mapano said the Left is expecting Duterte to address the root causes of the decades-old armed conflict, just as he promised in the campaign.
But Mapano said the NDFP, the united front of the revolutionary movement, is also hopeful that the third round of talks will bring both parties closer to reaching an agreement on the much needed socio-economic reforms.
The third round of talks between the Left and the government will be held on January 18 to 24, 2017 in Rome, Italy.
Mapano was speaking at the sidelines of a peace forum held in Barangay Mananum Bag-o, Medina town, Misamis Oriental for the 48th CPP founding anniversary.
The CPP-initiated peace forum was organized by the group’s North Central Mindanao regional command.
In attendance during the CCP-NCMR's annual event were religious leaders from the Roman Catholic, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and United Church of Christ in the Philippines churches who have been active in the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP).
Around 5,000 mass supporters of the New Peoples Army from different parts of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Lanao and Agusan del Norte were present at the village plaza.
IFI Bishop Felixberto Calang expressed his optimism that the peace talks will yield positive results.
"We are attending this event to get the perspective of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and their views on the peace process and also towards socio-economic reforms. We hope to hear these things on the peace talks and hopefully the effects would be the transformation and change within our society and its economic advantages towards the way of life of the Filipino people, with this we should be vigilant and look closely in the process in both sides of the table," said Calang.
"It is important that while our government and the NDF is working on the talks towards peace we should not be left behind in this undertaking. We should be in the forefront in the talks for peace because it is us the people who will benefit from this. We should not allow anyone who will block and hinder our path towards peace. We have high hopes since our government in the leadership of President Duterte has been in the forefront of the ongoing talks, we hope that the two parties will push on and move forward amid the trails and hardship in achieving peace," said the prelate added.
PEPP serves as a third party facilitator for both parties in Mindanao.
At present, both the CPP and the country's armed forces are enjoying the unilateral ceasefire as part of the peace negotiations.
During the anniversary, more than a hundred armed fighters of the New People's Army were also present as a show of force.