WITH the cancellation of peace negotiation, the umbrella organization of progressive groups in Northern Mindanao is apprehensive that more innocent civilians will be displaced due to fear of being caught in the crossfire.
Wildon Barros, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Northern Mindanao Region (Bayan-NMR), said the postponement of the scheduled resumption of peace talks might lead to an intensified offensives both from the military and the communist insurgents.
The formal peace talks were supposed to resume on June 28 to 30 but was moved by the Duterte administration to an indefinite date.
Barros said the government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) are expected to become more aggressive in launching offensives that will certainly affect civilians in the communities.
"Dako ang possibility nga mag-intensify ang armed struggle sa kabukiran ug ang labaw nga maapektuhan ang mga civilian busa gilauman nato nga daghan mga sibilyan ang mamakwit paingon sa mga sentrong lungsod kay mahadlok maigo sa crossfire," Barros said.
Barros said that the recent cancellation of the talks only revealed the insincerity of the government to solve the decades-long armed struggle.
He said the group is dismayed as they were clinging to hope that peace talks would finally address socio-economic reforms, national industrialization and genuine land reform which mainly the root causes of the armed struggle.
"Apil kami sa Bayan nangandoy nga masulbad ni pero nakita nato nga dili gyud sinsero ang Duterte administration. Gipalaw lang niya nga daw laban-bawi siya sa peace talks busa dismayado kita," Barros said.
In its statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the "unilateral cancellation of scheduled resumption of peace talks was made primarily in consideration of the armed forces' ongoing campaign plan for all-out military offensive across the country until the end of 2018."
"By calling off the scheduled peace negotiations with the NDFP, Duterte aims to give the AFP more time to complete its military campaign plan for 2018 of mounting bigger offensives under Oplan Kapayapaan in the hope of crippling the NPA and inducing the NDFP to negotiate a surrender," the CPP said.