The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) makes it appear that it has cancelled the fifth round of the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) because the latter has not withdrawn the order of the Communist Party of the Philippines to the New People’s Army to intensify tactical offensives against the AFP, PNP and armed auxiliaries of the GRP.
The GRP is culpable in the first place for waging a nationwide all-out war policy of aerial bombardments and artillery attacks against the revolutionary forces and people since last year and has aggravated this policy by proclaiming martial law all over Mindanao, far beyond Marawi and the bailiwicks of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups.
To accomplish ceasefire, coordination and cooperation between the forces of the GRP and the NDFP within Marawi against the aforesaid terrorist groups, the GRP must at best unilaterally withdraw its all-out war policy and martial law declaration or at least allow its negotiating panel to meet with the NDFP negotiating panel to start discussing coordination and cooperation in Marawi and subsequently on a wider scale.
The NDFP has already instructed the Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO) inside Marawi to assume home defense tasks against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. It has also directed units of the New People’s Army close to Marawi to redeploy for the purpose of mopping up, holding and blocking operations.
The MRLO and the NPA can coordinate and cooperate with the AFP by keeping a safe distance, maintaining independence and initiative and avoiding problems of getting mixed up with the AFP and PNP units. The localized ceasefire, coordination and cooperation can be agreed upon if the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels meet first and discuss matters in detail.
It is not too late to have such a meeting of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels because the terrorist attack on Marawi might still be prolonged or if suppressed soon, might recur in other parts of Bangsamoro. The US, anti-Duterte sections of the AFP and PNP and local anti-Duterte parties and groups have already begun a campaign of destabilizing the Duterte regime for the purpose of overthrowing this with a coup.
According to latest reports, there is yet no protocol between the MNLF and the AFP for their coordination and cooperation against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi, contrary to the claims of President Duterte himself.###
Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
June 7, 2017