By Philippine News Agency
MANILA — Local peace engagements are more productive mechanisms to attain peace and address communist insurgency in the country, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.
“Mas magiging creative and more productive yung localized peace engagements kasi yung mismong NPA at saka yung mismong mgamembers ng mga party makakausap natin (Localized peace engagements are more creative and more productive because we can talk directly with New People’s Army (NPA) and members of the party,” Galvez said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.
Galvez said the government seems having a hard time to deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) at the national level due to many demands the communists have been asking from the government.
“For almost 32 years that we are doing this (national peace talks), parang ‘di tayo nagsisimula eh (it seems so hard to get started),” Galvez said.
He believed that socio-economic packages and transitional justice will serve as confidence-building measures to address the root causes of the insurgency and will convince NPA rebels to return to the fold of government.
“We will change their mindset from being a revolutionary to become normal people who want justice and peace also to become productive. We will transform their collective desire to have a very productive life in the future,” he said.
Galvez said the local government units and stakeholders involved in the handling of problems at the ground level will be consulted and included in the negotiations.
He said the Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018, to institutionalize a whole-of-nation approach in attaining peace, will be beneficial in local peace engagements.
“Ang kagandahan nito (The good thing about this) is during the negotiation kasama lahat yung (all) Cabinet members (are part of it),” he said.
Galvez, meanwhile, clarified that the peace talks are not terminated, saying members of the government negotiating panel will be reconstituted after the Joint National Peace and Order Council agreed to pursue localized peace engagements instead.
On Wednesday, Malacañang confirmed the termination of the appointments of government peace negotiators with communist rebels “in view of the termination of the peace negotiations” with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Galvez said Duterte intends to honor previous agreements entered into by the government.
“The President really wanted to honor yung (the) previous commitments natin sa kanila (of the government with rebels). Lagi niyang sinasabi sa amin sa (He always tells us in the) Cabinet meeting that he is honor-bound to uphold what are the agreements that have been settled and signed by the government,” he said.
He mentioned the rejectionist faction of the CPP-NPA in the early 2000s as one of the early examples of local peace engagements.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier said they are always supportive of localized peace talks in addressing the local root causes of insurgency.