Makabayan lawmakers dismayed by termination of peace talks

LAWMAKERS belonging to the Makabayan bloc on Thursday, November 23, expressed their disappointment over the cancellation of the peace talks between the government and the communist insurgents.

In a statement, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said the scrapping of the peace talks will affect mainly the peasant workers and the urban poor as the agenda on socio-economic reforms will no longer be pursued.

“The main agenda of the peace talks is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reform (Caser). Caser addresses the root cause of armed rebellion in the country which (is) borne out of landlessness. Among the majority of the population are poor and landless peasants," Casilao said.

On Wednesday, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced the termination of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, after its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), failed to reciprocate peace overtures from the government.

Dureza said the negotiations will resume only when the leftist group's desire for peace becomes "evident."

The announcement came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said he no longer wants to talk peace, especially after the suppposed attack of the NPA against a police officer wherein a four-month-old baby was killed.

Casilao said the President's decision to cancel the peace talks only accommodates corrupt military and government officials who benefit from an all-out war.

The congressman believes it will only make the situation worse for the government as it will further isolate itself to the people, which he described as a Marocsian tactic.

"President Duterte should learn from the past regimes including the Marcos dictatorship which failed miserably in crushing the revolutionary movement," he added.

Kabataan party-list rep. Sarah Elago agreed that the cancellation of peace talks only promotes the "US-Duterte regime's all-out war approach."

Elago said the government has seemed to be disinterested in making peace with the armed group since the beginning.

'"Since February, the AFP has launched all-out war in (peasant and indigenous peoples) communities under Duterte's directive to 'flatten the hills' and 'bomb the Lumad schools'," said Elago.

"Expect the worst from Duterte's crackdown not just on armed groups, but even on mere expressors of dissent, similar to his Tokhang 'crackdown on drug pushers' which took a toll on innocent civilians and youth," she added. (SunStar Philippines)
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