Social dev’t group welcomes plan to resume peace talks

MANILAA social development and advocacy group on Tuesday expressed hope that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will not waver on his position to resume peace negotiations with communist rebels, noting that it is the best option to facilitate lasting peace in the Philippines.

We, in the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI) welcome President Duterte's announcement for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) peace talks on April 4, the group said in a statement.

We hope that the President will not waver anymore on his position to pursue peace, it added.

The PMPI described the possible resumption of peace talks as another door to open for a peaceful resolution of armed conflict and another path to ensure that violence in communities can be managed.

The group acknowledged that peace talks were tortuous and full of uncertainties but remained hopeful that both parties will agree on substantive issues and create visible impacts to the lives of Filipinos who are often at the receiving end of this war.

It also expressed hope that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) will abandon its demand for pre-conditions before peace talks are resumed.

We also hope that the leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDF will not continue to demand for pre-conditions and to patiently chase the path of a peaceful dialogue to push their so-called dreams for the people, the PMPI said.

The PMPI, meanwhile, urged both parties to listen to the cry of ordinary people for peace and to stop and mitigate violence in their communities due to this conflict.

It also wanted both parties to impose strict timelines and address "violations" or "snags" in the peace table without trash-talking each other.

This whole process of peace dialogue even the language of both parties should manifest peace, the PMPI said.

The group also sought for both parties to put at the center of the dialogue the injustices done to conflict-affected communities and individuals.

These we believe will usher-in a long and lasting peace and deepen our collective resolve to pursue the path of peace, betterment and progress, the PMPI said.

The PMPI is a social development and advocacy network composed of people's organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.

Three conditions

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that Duterte was only willing to resume peace talks under three conditionsan absolute ceasefire, cease and desist from collecting revolutionary taxes, and a no coalition government.

If you really want to make it happen, then you stop immediately. You and I, let's have ceasefire. No single shot, not even firecracker and I will be happy, Duterte said in a speech during the inauguration of Lisap Bridge project in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro last April 3.

Duterte terminated the peace talks in November last year, citing the communist rebels' failure to show sincerity and commitment to pursue genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations.

He also issued a proclamation classifying the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization in December last year.

Roque, however, said that the Duterte administration may withdraw its petition to declare communist rebels as terrorists but only once a formal peace agreement has been signed.

I think it will be withdrawn if there is a final peace agreement signed. But while the peace talks are ongoing, ang pupuwedeng gawin is, diyan lang siya (what we can do is keep it there), Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency