The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDF-NEMR) condemns President Rodrigo Duterte’s sudden postponement of the scheduled resumption of the NDFP-GPH peace talks. Duterte’s sudden and arbitrary cancellation of the peace talks, without deference to previously agreed upon measures by both parties, can only spell more terror and tyranny against the people under the US-Duterte regime.
The Filipino people lament the fact that Duterte has virtually jeopardized the NDFP-GPH peace talks. He has further given license to the AFP to continue to conduct militarist actions, human rights violations and destructive counter-insurgency operations against the people.
The deferment of peace talks which was supposed to transpire in June 28, 2018 but was moved to July 2018 was made by Duterte immediately after the National Military Command Conference. Does this mean that the military prevail over the signed agendas of the NDFP and GRP panels in the backchannel talks held for the resumption of peace talks? Does this show that Duterte heeds the military more than he does the panel he sent to Norway?
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is also insisting that the talks should be held in the Philippines and that they have still to consult the public and sectors. No peace talks will happen inside the Philippines, it should be done in a neutral location and should have a facilitator country. These two conditions have been established and has been proven correct and effective. The third party facilitator is the Government of Norway, an advanced country in Europe. Europe is also the usual location for negotiations. The NDFP and GRP peace talks are bilateral in nature, meaning, two negotiating groups/panels engage in dialogues. The GRP and the NDFP each have its own negotiating panel, after finalizing discussion points, these will be signed by the group’s principals. The GPH principal is Pres. Duterte and the NDFP’s principal is the National Chairperson of the NDFP, Ka Mariano Orosa.
Does Dureza’s statement that they will continue consultations with their supposed stakeholders and sectors mean that they have not agreed upon what they want to achieve in the talks? Don’t they have the solutions to the basic problems assailing Philippine society and its people?
NDFP-NEMR demands the immediate pullout of troops from communities and an end to Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao. In the interest of ensuring the progress of the NDFP-GPH peace process, it calls an end to all operations that are counter-insurgency in nature, including so-called “peace and development operations”, “visitations”, “medical missions” and the like, which involve fully-armed units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
NDFP-NEMR demands the pullout and dismantling of all AFP-controlled paramilitaries from civilian communities in the Surigao-Agusan provinces in order to allow the residents, particularly the Lumad people, to return to their homes and rebuild their war-torn schools and communities.
Despite Duterte’s continuous betrayal of the peace process, the NDFP has only shown seriousness and sincerity in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. The NDFP’s draft documents on the CASER contains concrete solutions to the people’s economic woes. The prospects of fulfilling these solutions grow more dim, however, because of Duterte’s continued disrespect and disregard of the people’s demands.
Together with the Filipino people, the NDFP continues to push along the path of a just and lasting peace. We must double our efforts to strengthen our links with the broad masses and other patriotic and democratic forces by continuing to support the NDFP-GPH peace talks and expose efforts by Duterte to block decisive steps towards addressing the people’s pressing demands for land, jobs, higher wages, an end to contractualization, lower prices of basic commodities, free education and health services, among others.
Together with the Filipino people, we must reject and resist Duterte’s rising tyrannical rule, the looming proclamation of a nationwide martial law and the perpetuation of a US-led “all-out-war” against the people. ###
Ka Maria Malaya