MANILA, Philippines — On the last day of the holiday truce between government troops and the New People’s Army, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) reiterated its call for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks, saying President Rodrigo Duterte should shun “peace spoilers” in his cabinet and the security sector.
In a statement Wednesday, BAYAN and its allied organizations earlier held a picket protest at the gates of Camp Aguinaldo to denounce what it called “peace spoilers” and “militarists” out to sabotage the resumption of the talks.
“If Pres. Duterte is truly serious in wanting to achieve peace in his term and in his lifetime, he should ignore the peace spoilers, especially those in the military who have previously set deadlines for the defeat of the CPP-NPA-NDFP in as many times as they have extended it,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr.
“They want to impose unreasonable and impractical conditions for the talks, like the NPA’s surrender and laying down of arms, or for the talks to be held in the Philippines. These are issues that have repeatedly been resolved in the past but continue to be raised by those out to derail the talks,” he said.
“Peace spoilers like former AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Germogenes Esperon oppose the resumption of the peace talks out of an arrogant and mistaken belief that the CPP-NPA-NDFP is a ‘spent force’ and that the armed conflict can be defeated through rehashed counter-insurgency strategies that have failed since the Marcos era,” said Reyes.
“The current “Whole of Nation Approach” under the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is the same old militarist strategy expanded to include even civilian agencies. It now targets unarmed activists and government critics, dangerously categorizing them as ‘rebel sympathizers’ and ‘front organizations’ and subject to vilification and red tagging, trumped up charges, and military action. This tends to worsen, not address, the roots of the armed conflict,” he stressed.
“Worse, counter-insurgency has become a big racket. Not content with kickbacks from military contracts, military officials appear to be raking in millions from fake surrenderees under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), even using edited photos of fake surrenderees,” he said.
“Pres. Duterte should just ignore these peace spoilers and racketeers, disband the NTF-ELCAC and earnestly resume the peace talks. The two-week holiday ceasefire is a good start to re-establish goodwill between the two parties. The next step is for the release of the NDFP consultants and panel members now under arrest in order for them to resume their duties,” Reyes said. (Stacy Ang/JGo/CurrentPH)