By Ben R. Rosario
Anakpawis party-list Representative Ariel Casilao slammed Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for urging her father, President Duterte, to reconsider his decision to resume peace talks with communist rebels.
Casilao chided Duterte for “toeing the line of the military” and the government’s security and defense agencies.
“They are in chorus to sabotage the potential resumption of the peace talk,” the opposition solon said.
Casilao stressed that peace based on justice will not be achieved if the root causes of armed rebellion remain unaddressed.
In an e-mailed statement, Mayor Duterte stated that peace negotiations with the National Democratic Fron- Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army “counter-productive and plainly useless.”
The Davao City mayor told her father that the only motivation of the communist insurgents is to overthrow the Philippine government and that peace has never been an option for them.
Casilao lamented that Duterte quickly sided with the military that has previously declared its opposition to the resumption of the peace talks.
He said the city mayor was quick in assailing the peace negotiations without personally investigating the various rights violations committed by security forces in Mindanao before and during the implementation of Martial Law.
“While it is disappointing that the Davao chief executive changed tune on her stance on the peace talks, we likewise urged her to investigate the military in its involvement on reported human rights violation against peasants and lumads. The recent International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission in Mindanao confirmed cases of rights violation committed by the military against peasant and lumad communities”, the solon said
Casilao said government is in fact the number one rebel recruiter as its military launches Marawi-style combat operations in the rural areas, even setting up camps inside peasant communities including lumad schools in places they perceived as insurgent areas.
According to him these communities were in fact target of various projects like mining, logging, plantation expansion among others. Casilao also cited the Mayor Duterte for ordering the violent dispersal of striking Coca Cola workers who were illegally dismissed by the company; ten workers were arrested for asserting their right to be reinstated.
Government oppression gave justice to poor people to take arms.
“We urge the Davao Mayor to read the contents of the documents that serve as the guide of the peace talks especially the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER). Rejecting the peace talks is like throwing away the aspiration of the people mostly the poor to advance their socio-economic welfare”, Casilao concluded.