Peace group warns military hawks, warmongers behind suspension of GRP-NDFP peace talks

The GPH-NDFP negotiators during the first round of formal peace talks. Photo from NDFP

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region — Militarist hawks and warmongers who dominate the affairs of the Philippine state have alarmed peace groups which are advocating for the continuation of the aborted peace talks and find a final solution to end the decades-long internal conflict.

The warmongers have influenced Duterte’s decision for the suspension of the GRP-NDFP peace talks which is targeted to start at the end of June, said KAPAYAPAAN in an emailed statement sent Saturday to Bicol Today in Naga City.

KAPAYAPAAN warns: “That the suspension comes after a command conference with the Armed Forces of the Philippines shows the power that warmongers wield over the civilian branch of this government.  Time and again they have exhibited dominance in government decisions on the peace question.  Defense Secretary Lorenzana’s most recent statement cynically casting doubt on the CPP-NPA’s compliance with the Stand Down Agreement discussed in backchannel talks is apparently nothing but another thinly-veiled attempt to scuttle the peace talks.”

KAPAYAPAAN views another sudden unilateral suspension by the Duterte administration of the GRP-NDFP peace talks set to take place end of June as a serious indication of its lack of commitment to peace and the political will to address urgent matters pertaining to the people’s welfare.

This recent suspension — irrational, unjustifiable and on the flimsy basis — seriously puts the peace process in peril, the peace group said.

Dureza’s repeated reference to a “last chance” for the peace process seems to indicate government’s real intention to terminate the peace process.  This, at a time when the two panels are on the cusp of signing a coordinated unilateral ceasefire and provisions on agrarian reform and rural development (ARRD) as well as national industrialization and economic development (NIED).

The suspension becomes more cause for alarm given the efforts of Duterte’s supermajority in the House of Representatives to railroad charter changes and a supposed anti-terror legislation that is clearly meant to quell rebellion through an iron hand.

“Thus we fear the suspension may be part and parcel of the Duterte administration’s overall scheme to close all avenues for negotiations and dissent.  For in truth, the peace talks have provided strong and solid ground for expressing the people’s perspectives on government policies fundamental to the national interest,” said the group.

KAPAYAPAAN concluded: “The Duterte administration has taken the peace talks into a labyrinth.  It will surely earn the ignoble distinction of having killed prospects for a peaceful solution to the armed conflict that has been raging in this country for almost five decades.”

Peace advocates and all patriotic Filipinos must make sure that the Duterte administration does not put a bullet into the heart of the peace process, the group warned. []


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