End of peace talks means bloodier war against the people

The brazen declaration of the US-Duterte regime regarding the ‘permanent’ end of the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF is another anti-peace measure that will no doubt bring further suffering to the Filipino people. The brash dismissal of the negotiations means the extension and aggravation of the dire socio-economic conditions forcing the oppressed people to take up arms—and will eventually lead to the intensification of the people’s war.

This development, or rather regression, on the peace talks thwarts the efforts of peace advocates and the revolutionary movement to achieve genuine peace based on the fulfilment of the people’s aspirations. The peace negotiations was a vital venue where the revolutionary movement, on behalf of the people, can forward genuine solutions to the decades-long problem of poverty and address the roots of social injustice.

As such, the decision to end the peace talks confirms the reactionary position of the GRP on key issues surrounding the peace talks such as national sovereignty, land reform, national industrialisation, workers’ rights and others enumerated in the NDF draft on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms.

The GRP under Duterte’s leadership is not inclined, in any way, to implement the CASER. It refuses to heed the people’s call for the realisation of their democratic rights and interests. It remains, and chooses to be, the main instrument of US imperialism in the perpetuation of feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in the country.

As the GRP has totally abandoned the path to peace, the real objective in its initial engagement in the peace talks surfaces. The GRP only intended to use the peace talks to manipulate the revolutionary movement to surrender.

The GRP was never sincere in the negotiations, and in fact continuously violated humanitarian laws and agreements governing the process. The direct attacks against NDFP consultants, including the arrest of Reynante Gamara and Frank Fernandez this month and the murder of NDFP consultant Randy Malayao last February, are at the tip of the iceberg. Violations of human and political rights and defiance of conditions for the resumption of the peace talks have mounted since the Department of Justice petition to declare the CPP and NPA as outlaws and terrorists in late 2017.

In a sense, announcing the ‘permanent’ end of the peace talks is a mere formality for Duterte’s militarist and fascist government. The militarist solution of launching an all-out war has always been preferred by the US-Duterte regime in solving the roots of the armed conflict. The peaceful route of negotiations signified the recognition of the co-existence of two governments (state of belligerency), which meant respect and protection for the rights of both parties. Now that the peace talks is over, the regime will unleash all the terror it can on the people, especially in the countryside.

Statements from Duterte and the mercenary AFP claim that there is no need to negotiate with the CPP-NPA-NDF because the revolutionary movement has been weakened by the successful surrender campaign. This outrageous lie, propped by repetitive media reports about ‘mass surrenders’, cloaks the violence of the regime’s surrender campaign that forces civilians, mostly peasants, to pose as NPA fighters.

The surrender campaign goes hand-in-hand with the militarisation of communities as part of the de facto Martial Law being imposed on the country by the Duterte government.

Here in ST, the military has already escalated its hostilities against the people in the name of crushing the NPA. In Mindoro, a civilian was murdered by elements of the 203rd Brigade and PNP-MIMAROPA and later presented as a slain NPA commander in a staged encounter last March 2. Meanwhile, leaders of people’s organisations in Quezon face constant harassment from the military that repeatedly accuse them of being members of the NPA.

The cancellation of the peace talks foreshadows a bloodier war that will mar the remaining years of Duterte’s presidency. Murder of civilians tagged as sympathisers, illegal arrests of activists, enforced disappearances, strafing and bombing of communities—all these are to be expected in greater intensity from the mercenary AFP-PNP-CAFGU in the coming months as the US-Duterte regime amps up its anti-communist and anti-revolutionary war.

The end of the peace talks is not the end of the people’s dream for just and lasting peace. If anything, it has brought to the fore the urgent task facing revolutionaries and peace advocates today–the removal of Duterte from power. NDF-ST calls on the revolutionary forces in the region to persevere in this goal, and to continue the painstaking work of arousing, organising and mobilising the masses for the realisation of their rights and interests. Our quest for peace can only be fulfilled by the triumph of the national democratic revolution and the founding of a prosperous society based on social justice. ###

End of peace talks means bloodier war against the people