Planned AFP military offensives behind Duterte’s talk cancellation

(Press Release) The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said the
unilateral cancellation by Duterte of scheduled resumption of peace negotiations
was made primarily in consideration of the AFP’s ongoing campaign plan for
all-out military offensives across the country until the end of 2018.

“By calling off the scheduled peace negotiations with the NDFP, Duterte aims to
give the AFP more time to complete its military campaign plan for 2018 of
mounting bigger offensives under Oplan Kapayapaan in the hope of crippling
the NPA and inducing the NDFP to negotiate a surrender,”
said the CPP.

Last Friday, Duterte unilaterally cancelled the scheduled talks with the NDFP
after being briefed on the status of Oplan Kapayapaan in a meeting with the top
brass of the AFP and defense officials. Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has
publicly announced that the military wants 3-6 more months before Duterte
resumes talks with the NDFP.

In cancelling the talks, Duterte said he first wants to hold public
consultations. “This narrow pretext is a thin veil that fails to conceal his
real aims.”

Duterte wants the AFP to rush its all-out offensives against the NPA. The AFP
has recruited at least 5,000 troops last year and seeks to add 10,000 more
troops until the end of the year. In doing so, Duterte is enabling the AFP to
employ Marawi-style tactics of employing an overwhelming force to wage all-out
war against civilian populations in order to claim and control the land.

“Even now, the AFP is mounting large-scale offensives nationwide, laying siege
on several hundred rural barangays, targetting civilian populations, occupying
schools and barangay halls, and unleashing its fascist brute force against
unarmed people. The AFP carries out aerial bombings, artillery shelling, drone
flying and other methods of intimidating the masses,” said the CPP.

“Abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law run rampant,” added
the CPP. “Tens of thousands of peasants and national minority groups have been
forced to leave their lands.”

The CPP added that in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, one of the AFP’s “focus
areas,” three battalions of army troops “swarm” the town’s three barangays.
Talaingod is nestled in the Pantaron mountain ranges where the Maonobo Lumad are
struggle to defend their ancestral land. With their overwhelming presence,
fascist combat troops of the AFP aim to intimidate the people, force them to
‘surrender,’ force them to leave their communities in order to seize control of
the people’s land and resources.” Other focus areas of the AFP are the Moro
areas surrounding the Liguasan Marsh, Quezon town, Bukidnon; Bilar town, Bohol,
General Nakar, Quezon.

“Clearly, Duterte does not want the AFP’s military campaign plan disrupted by
the peace talks,” said the CPP.

Formal peace negotiations were scheduled to resume on June 28-30 as agreed upon by the
NDFP and GRP negotiating panels after close to four months of backchannel talks.
A stand-down agreement was signed on June 8 and was supposed to take effect one
week before the opening of formal talks. Agreements on a timetable and a
guidelines for resuming talks and forging an interim peace agreement (IPA) were
also signed by both parties and witnessed by the Royal Norweigian special envoy.

The IPA was expected to integrate three components: an agreement on Agrarian
Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic
Development (NIED), an Amnesty Proclamation to be certified as urgent to effect
the release of all political prisoners, and a Coordinated Unilateral Ceasefire.

Planned AFP military offensives behind Duterte's talk cancellation