By SARAH RAYMUNDO
Peace Talks continues. However, GRP’s Jesus Dureza doubts whether the NDFP can control the NPA as the latter allegedly did not honor its unilateral ceasefire and may not uphold a bilateral ceasefire agreement. How can one sit in the Peace Talks and trash talk the other side on national TV? How unbecoming of a peace adviser.
First of all, it is the PNP, AFP and its paramilitary who violated the unilateral ceasefire. The NPA’s revolutionary and active defense of its communities is a reasonable and responsible action by any revolutionary armed unit against fascist attacks. The CPP-NPA-NDF are not into a revolution without revolution.
Second, Peace Talks may happen before the victory of the people’s war for national liberation and socialism. Peace Talks is not an alternative to revolution. But since it has started, the GRP seems to have been gunning for capitulation. No luck on that one, and thus, Duterte’s All-Out War against the communist forces.
Third, Dureza’s incredulity toward the NPA’s observance of a possible bilateral ceasefire agreement with the GRP, painting its success as being dependent on the NDFP’s capacity to herd the NPA muddles the objectives of the Peace Talks.
Typical of reactionary right-wing thinking, Dureza wrongly paints the revolutionary army of the people as soldiers who take orders from their higher-ups. How can a government bureaucrat assigned to sit in the Talks be clueless about the nature and dynamics of these three revolutionary entities (CPP-NPA-NDF)? Did he not do his homework before accepting this task?
Dureza also exhibits ignorance of the history of communist movements worldwide when he demands of a revolutionary front to control the revolutionary people’s army. He must know that the NPA is not like the mercenary AFP where soldiers simply take orders from the top.
The NPA is engaged in mass work. Its organized efforts at base building and agrarian revolution make it an armed force that makes decisions based on the best interest of its communities. The NPA persists against all odds because it continues to win the hearts and minds of peasant and working classes and patriotic forces in rural and urban communities. While various counter-insurgency programs have had been crafted and implemented by different regimes, the NPA remains undefeated.
There is no need for the GRP peace panel to assume that its communist counterpart shares the same sensibilities and follows the same feudal work ethic among its ranks where negotiators are seen as top-level patrons of lowly soldiers. Dureza must be reminded of the ways in which the GRP and the NDFP aren’t on the same side.
Fourth, note how the attacks by the AFP, PNP, and paramilitary are directed against above ground activists, development workers, and Lumad community leaders. To be exact, 39 people have been killed on account of their political beliefs under the Duterte administration. Communities and schools are militarized in the countryside. These human rights violations would happen before during and after the suspension of the Talks.
In other words, it is fascism as usual, fascism all the way for armed state forces. Given this climate, how can a bilateral ceasefire be the end all and be all of the Peace Talks? How can it be truly beneficial to rural communities being targeted by Oplan Kalayaan or even Oplan Tokhang, pray tell?
Lastly, it is wrong for GRP to deceive the people into believing that just peace is equivalent to ceasefire. The truth is the Peace Talks may continue even without a bilateral ceasefire agreement. For there is nothing in a bilateral ceasefire agreement that could significantly affect the success or failure of the Peace Talks. Ideally, a bilateral ceasefire agreement is clinched once substantive agreements have been made. So why does the GRP fixate on the bilateral ceasefire agreement?
Let me hazard a guess. Is it because it really cannot bring the Peace Talks to a point where comprehensive socio-economic reforms will be agreed upon and implemented on account of GRP’s real function for Philippine society: an instrument for elite and Imperialist rule?
Thus, the GRP will take each possible chance to disarm and demobilize the NPA even at the expense of distorting the real functions of agreements such as the bilateral ceasefire. Note how a bilateral ceasefire is actually an agreement and not a condition for talks to ensue smoothly.
The GRP wants us all to believe that peace is all just about the absence of war and resistance to the status quo. The GRP should stop seeing the Peace Talks as an opportunity to lure the CPP-NPA-NDF to capitulation. The important aspects of the Peace Talks as the NDFP repeatedly clarifies are the forging of socio-economic reforms and their successful implementation, as well as guaranteeing the observance of previously signed agreements such as the CAHRIHL.
The GRP should be castigated for dwarfing the Peace Talks by attempting to turn it to a state mechanism for the maintenance and reinforcement of the status quo. That is precisely how the ruling elite wages war against the people.