Peace Advocates Brand Esperon’s Appointment as Peace Czar ‘Ironic, Tragic, and Outrageous’

“His record as AFP Chief of Staff shows nothing that qualifies him as peace adviser, aside from the imprudent idea that a freshly-retired general, not a civilian, is tasked to address the complexities of the country’s continuing civil war,” said Beverly Musni , a lawyer and convenor of Inpeace Mindanao, an organization of peace advocates.

“What advise would Esperon give to Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in addressing the issue of peace?”

Ironic, tragic, and outrageous

Inpeace Mindanao, in a press statement, called Esperon’s appointment as “ironic, tragic, and outrageous.”

“Ironic because in the effort to address the issue of armed conflict raging in Mindanao between the GRP and the revolutionary forces of the MILF and the NDF, principled dialogue and sincerity is the key. But with General Esperon, comes a war hawk who is hell-bent to quash the armed conflict rather than talk peace.”

“Esperon’s appointment also becomes tragic. The people remember it was Esperon who vowed to crush the insurgency by 2010. It was Esperon who, a few months ago when his term was extended as Chief of Staff, said the months ahead would be bloody. As a military man he has relentlessly pursued war as a solution to the country’s armed conflict without making himself accountable for the devastation wrought by military operations and all-out wars on civilians. Esperon is no student of history to believe that the military solution cannot root out a political movement that is bred by decades of poverty and injustice in just three years.”

“Finally, Esperon’s appointment is so contemptible it insults the common sense. What credibility, for example, does the ‘Hello Garci’ general have in talking about the substantive agenda in the peace process such as socio-political, economic, and electoral reforms?”

“By surrounding itself with loyal hawks like General Esperon, the Arroyo administration shows no hope and sincerity to seriously talk peace. What Arroyo gives with her left hand, she takes back with her right: while informal talks with the NDFP were opened in Norway at the start of last week, Esperon was appointed peace adviser at the end of the week.”

“Of course, we could all be wrong, if the peace Arroyo and Esperon mean is the silence of the graveyard.”

Seeing no hope in the peace process with Esperon’s appointment, Inpeace challenged peace advocates to work with the marginalized and oppressed and to “unite and confront the barriers to peace, starting with rejecting a general’s appointment as government’s peace czar.” (Bulatlat.com)

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