WE HAVE to admit it, people and government have bent out of shape to accommodate the mixed ideology of the communist New People's Army (NPA), such that the communist armed group has apparently interpreted this as their license to burn every equipment they come across with whether it be government or private heavy equipment to make roads and link hinterland villages to much-needed markets, or trailer trucks carrying plantation produced products, and just about any vehicle that brings in development to the remote areas.
They will always claim it's their punishment for some unfair labor practice or environmental crime, although it's an open secret that such punishment is actually for not paying revolutionary taxes.
Government now says, enough is enough, and call the communist group terrorists as they actually are.
That said, we agree with the move of the Davao City Government of renaming the Davao City Peace Committee (DC-Peace), which was intended to embark on local peace talks to ensure that people in the hinterlands will finally live in peace even as the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army was suspended. That was before the declaration of the NPA as terrorists.
"Since there is already a policy from the President, what we will do is talk about issues in the community and we will supersede the DC-Peace Executive Order with another Executive Order and it will be named as Davao City Advisory Committee for Development," Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in a press conference Thursday at the City Mayor's Office.
For as long as development is constricted in the hinterlands, the communists will always have the means to convince the poor farmers and Lumads. For indeed, it is easy to convince the poor who is suffering from hunger and can barely go to school when government service is not even a glimmer in their horizon.
Now, the City Government intends to push all the services up to the level of the people themselves and let them tell government what they need with the assurance that they will be appropriately provided. This actually is the best recourse.
In this war that has been going on for almost 48 years now, the poor has become nothing but pawns; convinced this way and that by the military and the communists, helpless to stand up for their own simply because they are poor.
Now, the civilian government is saying, we have your back.
"The committee will talk to the communities now and they will start in Lumiad, Paquibato," the mayor said.
With this approach, we see that light at the end of the tunnel for real development and peace in those hard to reach areas. In the 48 years that the communist rebellion has been waged, government was always looking at the military to deliver the results aspired for in those communities. While indeed it's mostly just the military who can penetrate these areas, we also know that a peace can never be achieved when combatants are at the forefront.
Here's to hoping that all this will bring the best for our city and our people who have for almost five decades now lived under the barrel of the gun -- from the terrorists and the government. It's time to let them speak up and directly get the services they most need. Without the guns. Without the threats.