Duterte’s EO 158 and “local peace talks” are anti-peace and counterrevolutionary

This article is available in Pilipino

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people, especially advocates of a just and lasting peace, to reject and denounce Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 158 issued last December 27, 2021 that purportedly “strengthens peace, reconciliation and unity” but which, in fact, is anti-peace and counterrevolutionary. Duterte’s EO 158 promotes a fake peace and will completely shut the doors to serious peace negotiations.

All committees of the Party and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue to expose and reject the “localized peace talks” under EO 158 and mobilize the people to demand a just and lasting peace based on addressing the people’s national and democratic aspirations. Progressive, patriotic and democratic forces can raise expose and demand the repeal of EO 158 and call on all candidates running in the 2022 elections to join in denouncing “local peace talks” and demand the resumption of serious peace negotiations.

Behind the rhetoric of “addressing the roots of the armed conflict,” EO 158 aims only to pacify the people without actually responding to the problem of systemic oppression and exploitation. The ultimate aim of Duterte’s fake peace is to kill the people’s resistance to land grabbing, low wages, and the expansion of plantations and mining companies and other big capitalist interests.

Duterte’s “peace framework” is a counterinsurgency weapon. It uses so-called “localized peace talks” to conduct psywar and intelligence operations against the people and their people’s army. On the pretext of “grassroots engagement,” it aims, attacks and destroys the independent people’s organizations in order to disunite the people and take away their capacity to defend their land, their rights and interests. Fake organizations are formed by the military. Superficial “livelihood programs,” road and housing projects, are launched to conceal the fundamental problem of landlessness, uproot the people from their land, and to serve as milking-cow for corrupt military officers.

Under EO 158, talking “peace” serves only to sugarcoat the relentless drive to terrorize the people by establishing so many military camps and detachments to surround and control civilian villages, forcibly recruit people to paramilitary groups, conduct night raids against people’s homes, incessantly harass people to “admit” and “surrender” to being NPA supporters and target for extrajudicial killing those who refuse to cooperate and give up their principles. Entire villages are being terrorized through night and early morning aerial bombing and artillery shelling that target their farms, communities and mountains.

Duterte’s EO 158 is the culmination of his regime’s killing of peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Since 2017, he has systematically trampled on all past agreements and reversed the hard-won achievements of the NDFP-GRP negotiations, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He prevented the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms (CASER). He has treacherously imprisoned and killed peace consultants and personnel of the NDFP in blatant violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

“Peace, reconciliation and unity” is a thin veil to conceal the reign of state terrorism imposed by Duterte and the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac on the people in the name of anti-terrorism. Under Duterte’s Anti-Terror Law (ATL), which systematically undermines and attacks human rights and legal processes and targets patriotic and democratic forces, the attainment of a just and lasting peace has become impossible.

Duterte’s EO 158 and “local peace talks” are anti-peace and counterrevolutionary