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From HK: Plea to stop all-out war, continue peace talks

Show of solidarity for the continuance of the peace process from Hong Kong. Photograph by Eman Villanueva
The online news portal of TV5

HONG KONG SAR | Together with Filipino human rights, justice and peace advocates, and joined by representatives from international groups, the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) called Friday for the Duterte Administration to continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The group also urged the government not to follow the "Marcosian tactics" of past administrations, which all failed in ending the longest revolutionary armed struggle in Asia through purely military means.

Last year, HKCAHRPP expressed jubilation during the first few months of the Duterte administration over the government's decision to resume peace negotiations, with the apparent assumption to power of a president who expressed openness in addressing the root causes of the armed struggle in the country through a negotiated peace settlement.

But to its surprise and dismay, the Duterte Administration terminated the peace talks.

HKCAHRPP also expressed concern about the recent pronouncement of President Duterte that tagged the CPP/NPA/NDF as "terrorists".

This was followed by the declaration of an "all-out war" against the revolutionary movement by no less than the secretary of the Department of National Defense.

HKCAHRPP took the position that a military solution will never succeed in ending the country's decades-old civil war. "It will only aggravate the anger and worsen social unrest as the vast majority of the Filipino people continue to suffer from abject poverty, landlessness, exploitation and systemic injustice in the hands of a few and powerful elites ruling the country," the organization said.

Just like in previous administrations, HKCAHRPP pointed out, "massive militarization intensifies human rights violations in the form of abductions, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, the filing of trumped-up charges and the like against political activists, human rights defenders and justice and peace advocates among the peasants, national minorities, workers, women, youth, professionals, church people, etc."

And, there's no better way to resolve such conflicts but through peace talks while both parties are resolute in addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.

"The Filipino people deserve nothing but land to till, a protected environment, secure jobs and decent wages, the full protection of their rights and welfare, basic social services and a truly sovereign and developed economy. Addressing these issues will pave the way for a just and lasting peace."