Follow  ceasefires with  peace talks

Published December 25, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON DEC 26, 2019

Peace efforts with the Communist elements in the country must never be ruled out.

Although  President  Duterte  announced last March the “permanent termination” of talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National  Democratic Front (NDF), and the New People’s Army (NPA), he has now renewed efforts to bring  CPP founding chairman  Jose Ma. Sison and other  leaders  back to the negotiating  table.

The  President  sent  Labor Secretary  Silvestre Bello III and former Agrarian Reform Secretary  Hernani Braganza, to see Chairman Sison  in Utrecht, Netherlands,  early  this  month   about the possibility of holding new peace talks in Manila. There is yet no agreement on this matter,  but  the two sides  agreed  that they would  recommend  to  their  respective  principals that they declare  nationwide ceasefires  from December 23, 2019, to January  7, 2020. President  Duterte   issued his declaration  Sunday night, followed  by the CCP’s own  declaration.

The agreement  recommending  mutual ceasefires was signed  by Bello and Braganza for  the government and  by  Fidel  Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni, chairman and  adviser of the  NDF  negotiating panel. The signing   was witnessed by  Kristina Lie Revheim  of  the Norwegian  government,  which has long been  offering its good offices for the peace talks  since they began at the start of the Duterte administration  in 2016.

It must be pointed out that the other  rebellion  in the Philippines – that of the  Moro  people –  is so much  older  than  that of the leftist movement  which began  48 years ago. The Moro people never yielded to the colonial powers  and  the  Philippine  government.  But now we have a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao headed by officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  The  administration is now meeting with the other Moro movement, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), in the continuing search for peace in Mindanao.

President  Duterte,  the nation’s first  president  from Mindanao, has moved  ahead  of  all previous government  efforts  to bring about  peace with  the Moro people. He must continue the search for peace  with  the other rebel  movement – the New People’s Army  of the Communist  Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic  Front.

Total   peace may not be achieved during the present administration  but  the  effort  must  never be abandoned.   The  ongoing  reciprocal ceasefires  this  Christmas season, we hope, will  be followed by renewed efforts to finally achieve peace  with  the NPA-CPP-NDF .