Lorenzana sees no chance for peace talks with Communists to get back on-track

Published January 7, 2019, 6:19 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Francis Wakefield

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana does not expect the peace talks between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) resuming in the near future despite President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s openness to go back to the negotiating table.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, Lorenzana said with CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison’s previous threat to oust President Duterte and the continuing attacks, incidents of extortion and burning of construction equipment still present, there was no chance that negotiations will be re-opened in the foreseeable future.

“His (Sison) previous call of prioritizing the ouster of PRRD is a hollow one knowing fully how popular the President remains. But he has to make it ostensibly to rally his fighters,” Lorenzana said.

“I have consistently said that Sison and his people should also show some sincerity (if they want peace talks to resume),” Lorenzana said.

The DND chief said Sison only wanted to talk peace with the government so that he could remain relevant in the eyes of his followers and the public.

“Now that the President has hinted that a peace talks is still possible he jumps in and say he is ready for talks,” Lorenzana said. “He is grasping at thin straws to keep his dream alive. But he can dream on. The President has consistently said that he would re open the talks if he believes there is a compelling reason to do so.”

‘He knows that the CPP/NPA is fast losing against our new approach of addressing the insurgency,” he added.

President Duterte has set some conditions for the re-opening of the talks such as no attacks on government forces and civilians, no extortion, no destruction of properties and talks should be held here in the Philippines, among others.

In a statement, Sison said it has always been the policy of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to be open to peace negotiations with the Philippine government.
Sison is the chief political consultant of the NDFP.

“Enemies need peace negotiations before they can become friends or partners for the sake of the Filipino people who desire social, economic and political reforms as basis for a just and lasting peace,” said Sison.

“Thus, I welcome the statement of Duterte that he is still open to peace negotiations even as there is still an exchange of hostile words in the mass media and exchange of bullets in the battlefield,” he added.

Sison explained that the peace negotiations could also pave the way for the end of the martial law implementation in Mindanao since the operation of the communist rebels is one reason cited for its extension.

He said the peace negotiations was also a means to stop Charter change that can only pave the way for what he describes as bogus Federalism.

“The NDFP presumes that when peace negotiations resume, the way is open to the forging of agreements on social, economic and political reforms that are desired and needed by the people,” said Sison.