Ka Joaquin Jacinto
June 15, 2018
The National Democratic Front Philippines-Mindanao condemns President Rodrigo Duterte’s sudden postponement of the scheduled resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Philippine government. The formal talks would have resumed on June 28 to 30 in Oslo, Norway as agreed upon in four rounds of back channel talks between NDFP and GPH panel representatives.
The postponement was issued by Duterte after attending a command conference with top officials of the Philippines National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. Disregarding any and all previously agreed upon measures meant to pave the way for the resumption of the talks, Duterte announced that the talks would instead resume in July.
Duterte’s sudden announcement to move the talks to July is an act of complete disregard and disrespect of three months of negotiations between the NDFP and GPH panels.
It is a clear sign of betrayal, yet another testament to Duterte’s insincerity to work for a just and lasting peace. It is also an indication of his disinterest to address the root causes of the armed conflict, especially when confronted with strong resistance from the fascist AFP and the PNP.
This was not the first time that Duterte showcased back-handedness in negotiations with the NDFP. He tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations and issued an order to re-arrest all NDFP consultants.
By postponing and consequently jeopardizing the peace talks, Duterte further exposed himself as a militarist tyrant. He blatantly undermined the peace process, despite and in spite of positive developments that are being achieved in forging major agreements between the two parties.
We call on the people to be ever-vigilant. Duterte’s sudden postponement of the talks will only pave the way for intensified militarization, human rights violations and devastation of lives and communities, all in line with Duterte’s plan to impose martial law not only in Mindanao but nationwide.
The resumption of the formal talks this June would have included in its agenda the signing of an interim peace agreement, as well as headways on agrarian reform, national industrialization and a “stand-down agreement” between the AFP and the NPA within the duration of the talks.
However, it is now apparent that these positive developments are being blocked by Duterte himself, his default resolution to the armed conflict remains the US-prescribed counter-insurgency doctrine of waging war and terror on the people.
We call on the Filipino people to support the NDFP-GPH peace talks. Let us continue to call an end to martial law in Mindanao and reject and resist any and all moves to impose martial rule nationwide. Only through the genuine land reform, national industrialization and the upholding of national sovereignty can just and lasting peace be truly achieved. ###