THE League of Filipino Students (LFS) in Northern Mindanao expressed worry over the appointment of a military man to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp).
Kristine Cabardo, LFS-Northern Mindanao chairperson, said they expect nothing from military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. in the peace process.
"Unsa man atong i-expect sa military man nga molingkod sa peace process, wala kitay maasahan ana kundili dahas ug maggamit ug armas. Wala kitay malauman nga sa umaabot na mga adlaw kung naa bay makab-ot (We cannot expect anything from a military man to achieve something in the peace process, what we can expect is more violence and use of arms)," Cabardo said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte intends to appoint Galvez to the Opapp, replacing Jesus Dureza who resigned in November for failing to stop corruption in its office.
Galvez, the outgoing chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on December 12.
Cabardo said Dureza is a big loss to the peace efforts of this administration, pointing out that he never stopped the back channel talks despite pronouncements of President Duterte to end the peace negotiations.
"Kung ang peace talks naa sa kamot sa AFP, dili gyud seryoso ang gobyerno (If the peace talks is in the hands of AFP, this shows that the government is not serious)," she added.
The peace negotiations ended after Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison traded barbs with Duterte's top security officials after the government postponed the talks for further public consultation. Sison, frustrated with the delay, said they would rather support to oust Duterte than proceed with the peace talks.
Cabardo said if the peace talks will indeed fail, the people will bring their appeals to the streets rather than in the negotiating table.
Bishop Felixberto Calang, the main convenor of the Sowing the Seeds of Peace, meanwhile, said he fears that replacing Dureza with someone from the security sector will throw out the essence of the peace negotiations.
"It will transform the peace talks into a sounding board for surrender rather than a process of dialogue to commonly address the roots of the armed conflict. The peace talks will become a mere play in the 'game of the generals'," Calang said.