THE termination of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA- NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) is a sad development for efforts to have a lasting peace in the country. The hope to end the five decades of insurgency has become dim.
What is worse is President Duterte’s labelling of the said groups as terrorists and his order to arrest the latter’s leaders. This is like declaring war against the communists and leftists group.
On the other side, the CPP-NPA-NDF has expressed dismay over their demand to the government to release nearly 400 political prisoners. Those who are detained have cases filed against them ranging from frustrated murder, murder, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, among others.
So far, the Philippine government has released 23 rebel leaders who were even invited on the peace negotiation tables in the other countries with government negotiators.
It seems that peace is quite elusive again despite the efforts of each camp to talk to each other. As always and expected, both sides shall now be exchanging allegations of atrocities such as violations of ceasefire agreements and cessation of hostilities.
Nonetheless, with the scrapping of the peace talks, the cancellation of ceasefire agreements comes next. This means that offensives from both parties are anticipated as a result of the disagreements and failure of the peace talks.
It is deeply disappointing as final and lasting peace has been one of his deepest aspirations of the citizenry and one of the campaign promises of the President that is about to be set aside. With the folding up of the negotiating tables, we expect the collapse of all peace agreements that might result into loss of lives and damage to properties.
We are again on the brink of endless war between our government and the CPP-NPA-NDF which I am sure, are also tired of the insurgency but not to their cause.
With this, many are sad of the seemingly situation now that the road to lasting peace has been made bumpy and difficult to traverse.
Both sides should revisit history and be reminded of the lessons of the country’s insurgency which has lasted almost half a century. It is estimated that nearly 50,000 lives have been lost with the endless fights of the military and the members of the leftist groups.
The government should study the cause of this insurgency which can be traced on long time social causes. The other side meanwhile should realize that peace can be won not on the battlefield but on the negotiating tables.
The good news is, the President did not totally close the government doors. Anyone in the CPP-NPA-NDF can always surrender and return to the fold of the law, as he announced. Meanwhile, both camps should take further steps not for their respective interests but for the country’s longing for peace for all.