By Ben Rosario
Oppositionist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday accused Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the military of being “peace spoilers” for trying to sabotage renewed efforts towards peace between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
In a statement, ZArate said Lorenzana and the military have launched moves to stop the peace moves by issuing statements towards this end.
“Stop monkeywrenching the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” Rep. Zarate said.
He referred to alleged statements issued by Lorenzana and Army Major General Rhoderic Parayno when they aired strong doubts of a “stand down” of forces between the GRP and the NDFP.
“They launch attacks on the peace process in all fronts but fail to put forward a paradigm that would effectively address the root causes of the armed conflict. Their default solution to the problem is still the US-prescribed combination of psychological warfare and military counterinsurgency operations that they have been doing for decades and have been proven to be a failure and a waste of lives and resources” said the progressive solon.
Zarate warned peace advocates to “be watchful of spoilers and saboteurs’ who have blocked efforts between the two parties to forge agreement on socio-economic and political reforms.
Meanwhile, Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary Alejano stressed the need for strong institutions and clear policies to improve peace in the country even as the global Peace Index ranked the Philippines second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific Region.
“Our low ranking is indeed disappointing, but this should be taken as a wake-up call to strengthen our institutions and establish a clear policy direction with regards to the peace and order situation in our country,” said Alejano.
Alejano, who once led a military mutiny against the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, noted htat in the study, the Philippines rating plummeted under the Duterte administration.
The opposition lawmaker said the crackdown against illegal drugs and the five-month Maute siege of Lanao del Sur were among the reasons for the low peace index ranking.
“I agree with the basis of the report as the cause of the slide of the Philippines down the peace index. The widespread killings under the war on drugs, Marawi siege, and declaration of martial law extension in Mindanao could be easily identified as major reasons for this slide,” Alejano said.
The Magdalo solon also noted that the peace ranking may affect the attractiveness of the Philippines to investors.
“Such perception affects investors’ confidence on the country. It would be a difficult job for the Duterte economic managers to market the country when the factors mentioned above still persists,” he said.