Editorial: Is there still hope for peace talks?

WHILE it is uncertain if the peace negotiations between the national government and the communist rebels will push through, President Rodrigo Duterte has again expressed his interest to give peace another chance.

However, the President insisted that before going back to the negotiating table, a number of conditions have to be met by the other side.

Among the conditions is that there will be no more collection of revolutionary taxes and no atrocities.

In response, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a statement over the weekend, said they welcomed the possible resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The revolutionary forces maintain the policy of openness to negotiations to seek solutions to the roots of the armed conflict, they said, adding that they are waiting for the comprehensive social reform agreement which would address the plight of the people.

The communist rebels said Duterte has yet to provide the people a reason for them not to resist his regime and call for his ouster.

To augment efforts to revive peace talks, the people must continue to wage all-out resistance and mount organized protest actions to amplify their democratic demands for land reform, wage increases, jobs, and expanded social services and so on, they added.

Without letup in its war of suppression, the Duterte regime leaves the New People’s Army with little choice but to wage nationwide armed struggle to defend the people against state terror and fascist violence, the group said.

In Negros Occidental, one of the provinces where rebel forces are active offensively, officials have reiterated their call to give peace a chance.

However, it seemed that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. has a change of heart recently, as he expressed opposition on the proposal to renew peace negotiations.

He said the pact is being exploited by the NPA to their advantage.

The governor had been consistent in calling on the rebels to come down and join the mainstream society.

Both sides – the government and the rebels – have displayed their distrust to each other.

However, how can the negotiations push through if both sides can’t be trusted?

Somehow, someone’s got to give in. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck in “what if?”
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