‘NARROW THINK’ | NDF scoffs at hawkish govt stance on peace talks

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Emblem of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines

MANILA – The communist National Democratic Front at the weekend responded to the stance manifested by the government regarding the peace negotiations: “To say that there will be no peace simply because the NPA continues to fight the forces of the AFP and PNP despite the ongoing peace negotiations is very narrow thinking.”

For one thing, NDF pointed out, “it is the AFP that is on the offensive with its continuing counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.”

Oplan Kapayapaan, NDF said, “is no different from the brutal counter-insurgency programs of previous regimes from Corazon Aquino to her son Benigno Aquino III that failed to defeat the CPP-NPA-NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines].

According to Fidel Agcaoili, the NDF Panel chairperson, “[National Defense Secretary Delfin] Lorenzana and other war hawks within the GRP military establishment continue to regard the CPP-NPA-NDFP as ‘enemies of the state.’ They are not for peace. They are for continuing the war against the revolutionary forces and the people.

“For another thing, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are being held precisely to find a political solution to the armed conflict which calls for drastic change of the status quo through needed social, economic and political reforms. Lorenzana and the war hawks are not for a political solution to the armed conflict but for surrender of the revolutionary forces without the needed reforms to change the status quo.”

The NDFP agreed to resume the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations when Rodrigo Duterte came to power as President “because he said he was the first Left president, meaning he was for change of the status quo. Because being Left means fighting for change of the status quo in the same way that being Right means maintaining the status quo.

“The aim of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is to achieve a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the armed conflict. Thus, the aim is not just a peace that is the absence of fighting but a just and lasting peace based on social justice, human dignity, eradication of poverty, assertion of national sovereignty and independence from foreign domination.

“That is why the next rounds in the peace talks are aimed at forging agreements on social and economic reforms (CASER), considered as the “meat” of the peace negotiations, and political and constitutional reforms (CAPCR). Only then will there be discussion on the final end to hostilities (CAEHDF).

“Being burdened by a narrow military mind set, Lorenzana and the ‘war hawks’ within the GRP are incapable of comprehending the need for a political solution to the armed conflict. They have not learned the bitter lesson that a military solution is no solution against a revolutionary movement that is fighting a just cause and deeply rooted in the people, especially the oppressed and exploited masses. GRP president Duterte must therefore assert civilian authority over his own military so that a political solution between his government and the revolutionary forces can be reached and a just and lasting peace established in the country.”