Friday, June 9, 2017

CPP/Ang Bayan: Peace talks stalled anew

Propaganda article from the English edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 7): Peace talks stalled anew

GRP PRESIDENT DUTERTE has threatened to have NDFP consultants arrested the moment they land in the Philippines. This came after the cancellation of the fifth round in the series of peace talks between the NDFP and GRP which was previously scheduled on May 27-June 2.

According to Jesus Dureza of the GRP, they did not attend the fifth round supposedly because of the CPP’s call for the NPA to intensify tactical offensives all over the Philippines in response to the Duterte regime’s imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao.

But Luis Jalandoni, senior political adviser of NDFP panel, said that the GRP withdrew because the NDFP did not agree to prioritize the ceasefire agenda.

Even during the fourth round of talks last April, the GRP was already reluctant to continue with the talks on CASER (socio-economic reforms) without first discussing the ceasefire agreement. This only pushed through when the NDFP bent over backwards to sign an agreement to agree on a ceasefire once implementing rules are agreed upon.

Dureza’s declaration shows that they are only using the NPA’s call for more tactical offensives as justification to withdraw from the talks. Aside from this, the GRP also gave other reasons such as intensified offensives by the NPA even prior to martial law, so-called questions of the public on the sincerity of the NDFP regarding the talks, the clarification made by the NDFP panel that they do not command the NPA, and the government’s preference for localized peace talks.

The CPP has long clarified the revolutionary movement’s stand for just and lasting peace, that this can be attained only by resolving the issues at the roots of the armed conflict. While carrying out war, the NDFP is open to peace talks to achieve concrete benefits for the people.

For more than 20 years, the advance of the NDFP-GRP talks have been tough, slow and tortuous. Of the four substantive agenda, only the CARHRIHL has been signed in 1998. The talks did not advance substantially because the succeeding regimes were only interested in pacification and surrender of the revolutionary forces.

Upon the resumption of the peace talks last year, the NDFP agreed to a reciprocal unilateral ceasefire, while the GRP promised to release all political detainees. The NDFP ceasefire lasted for almost six months, the longest in NPA history.

The CPP was pushed to terminate this on February after the GRP failed to fulfil its promise to release all political prisoners and because the AFP used the ceasefire to forward deploy its forces within the NPA guerrilla zones and bases. The GRP’s response to this was Defense Sec. Lorenzana’s all-out war declaration on February 7.

The present series of talks that began on August 2016 were expected to accelerate the attainment of more substantial agreements because the Duterte government exhibited more openness to the revolutionary movement and gave anti-US declarations.

After a series of informal talks, the fourth round of the series of talks were held on April 2-6. This, too, was almost blocked when Lorenzana and his AFP cohorts insisted that the NDFP first sign a “bilateral ceasefire” before going on with the talks.

JASIG suspension

Duterte had already twice issued threats to arrest NDFP consultants. The first was on February after he ordered the all-out war. The second came this May 31.

Duterte’s threat denigrates the JASIG, the agreement that protects peace talks participants from arrest throughout the duration of the peace talks until 30 days after.

However, even while peace talks are in effect, the Duterte government has ignored this several times when it arrested Ariel Arbitrario, Promencio Cortez, Ferdinand Castillo, and Rommel Salinas, and subjected other consultants to surveillance and harassment.

The government also disregards CARHRIHL by continuing to detain political prisoners, by extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, bombings, shelling and other atrocities against the people in its military operations in the countryside and cities.

Despite the GRP’s withdrawal, the NDFP shows its determination for the peace talks by offering a reciprocal unilateral ceasefire to Duterte on June 2 to enable the peace talks’ resumption. But Duterte rejected this and insisted that the NDFP immediately engage in a bilateral ceasefire.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

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