The Information Bureau of the Communist Party of the Philippines on Saturday said President Rodrigo Duterte is taking the revolutionary forces for fools by demanding their surrender as precondition for peace talks while the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducts all-out war against the rebel New Peoples Army (NPA).
“This is an unacceptable,” a CPP statement published on the web stated. “Duterte has lost all moral ground to make such a demand.”
The declared a cease fire on August 19, 2016, which lasted for close to 160 days, in response to Pres. Duterte’s signed commitment to release around 500 political prisoners through an amnesty proclamation. “Duterte, however, wasted the goodwill of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines when it failed to fulfill that commitment, and even took advantage of the NPA cease fire to deploy his soldiers and conduct military offensives,” CPP said.
In the face of “Duterte’s tyrannical rule and triple war,” the NPA said in the statement, it launches tactical offensives to bring the Duterte regime to account, “and its soldiers and police for thousands upon thousands of Oplan Tokhang killings, the successive killing of peasants, national minorities and youths, military occupation of civilian communities, aerial bombings and shelling, the near-genocidal war against the Maranaos of Marawi, arbitrary arrests and detention and so on.”
As a matter of principle, though, the revolutionary forces say they remain open to negotiations as a means to attain a just and lasting peace even as it wages people’s war, but the peace talks “cannot be fruitful with Duterte … demanding NPA capitulation.”
In an editorial posted on the NDFP web site, the CPP organ, Ang Bayan, said “the Filipino people’s outrage is rapidly accumulating against Rodrigo Duterte over the blood being spilt under his repressive tyrannical rule.”
Ang BAyan highlighted the successive killings of several youths these past days “by his armed minions”: Kian delos Santos, 17 years old, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19 and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, who all were tortured and killed by stabbing and shooting by the police in the war against drugs; and Obillio Bay-ao, 19, Lumad youth in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, who was shot and killed by paramilitary forces.
The people indict Duterte for the thousands upon thousands of lives snuffed by the three wars he has launched: the Oplan Tokhang “war against drugs”, the Oplan Kapayapaan war of suppression and martial law in Mindanao and the anti-Moro war and destruction of Marawi. The people detest Duterte for repeatedly ensuring protection and giving incentives to police and soldiers for blindly following his kill orders.
“Duterte’s “war against drugs” is now rousing widespread resistance over police abuses and killings. Various personalities, sectors, organizations and institutions are standing up. Youth organizations in communities and schools are waiting to be brought together in a broad front against Oplan Tokhang and police abuses and to demand a comprehensive socioeconomic solution to the drug problem.”