Saturday, July 14, 2018

CPP rejects localized peace talks, says Duterte 'pretending to want peace'

From CNN Philippines (Jul 13): CPP rejects localized peace talks, says Duterte 'pretending to want peace'

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday said it won't participate in the localized peace talks being pushed for by the government.

The country's biggest communist organization shot down President Rodrigo Duterte's policy for local government officials to talk peace with rebels, saying he will only "pretend to want peace while actually waging total war against the people."

"[The] so-called localized peace talks are a sham, a waste of people's money, and are doomed to fail. It is a worn-out psywar tactic to project victory to conceal the continuing failure of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to suppress the people's resistance and stem the steady growth of the NPA (New People's Army)," the CPP said in a statement.

The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP which has waged a five-decade insurgency, the longest-running in Asia.

The rejection comes as the Duterte cabinet finalized the guidelines local government officials should follow in talking peace with the communist rebels. MalacaƱang said an executive order will formalize and spell out these guidelines.

READ: Guidelines for localized peace talks set

MalacaƱang has said the local government's talks with the rebels have been proven successful in the past, as evidenced by the surrender of thousands of fighters.

This is a claim repeatedly denied by the CPP, calling it an "illusion."

It accused the AFP of rounding up local residents and misrepresenting them before the public as surrenderees.

"They have overdone their surrender campaign as they have declared close to 8,000 surrendered since January, after having claimed earlier this year that there are only 3,000 NPA members," the CPP said.

It also maintained its members are "united under the Party's central leadership," and expressed its support for the National Democratic Front, which represents rebels in talks with the government.

Duterte walked away from the negotiations in November 2017 as both sides accused each other of violating their own unilateral ceasefire declarations.

The talks were supposed to resume last June, but Duterte postponed it for a three-month review. This sparked a word war between government officials and the communist leadership, particularly CPP founding chairman Joma Sison who said they would rather wait for a new government and participate in Duterte's ouster than talk peace with his administration.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque previously said the government is "laughing at" the supposed target of the rebels to oust Duterte by October, while the Armed Forces said the rebels have no capacity to overthrow the government.

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