OPAPRU's response to proposal of presidential candidates to resume peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity respects the position of the presidential candidates with regards to the proposal on the possible resumption of peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF. We are grateful that they have been honest in presenting their views on the matter. This will give Filipinos a bird’s eye view of what will be the policy direction of their respective administrations on the said negotiations once they are elected into office.
We must remember, however, that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte terminated the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF in 2019 because of their insincerity and lack of commitment. While the group’s leaders were talking peace with the national government, their men were attacking government forces, burning private installations, and wreaking havoc on communities.
Such brutal and inhuman actions, we believe, are not what parties do when they want to talk peace.
As they say, we must walk our talk. If the CPP-NPA-NDF is truly sincere in finding a peaceful settlement to the armed conflict, it must prove this not only through their statements, but through affirmative action. Sadly, this has not been the case for this group which has been a major violator of laws for decades.
This is the reason why the national government has been pushing for localized peace engagements (LPEs) which are anchored on its whole-of-nation, whole-of-society approach. Through these LPEs, thousands of rebels and violent extremists have peacefully surrendered, returned to the folds of the law, and are now living as peaceful and productive citizens.
The strength of LPEs lie in their inclusive, people-centered approach. Although the national government provides the overall policy direction, it is the stakeholders – local government units, civil society and the residents – who are taking the lead in these talks, and are providing solutions to the insurgency problem in their communities.
Let us all learn from the lessons of the past and apply these lessons in moving the peace process forward. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian lives have been lost to this decades-long communist insurgency. It is time to put an end to this culture of impunity and cycle of violence once and for all.
Our course of action must always be anchored for the best interest of the Filipino people, to bring and just and lasting peace to our nation.
ATTY. WILBEN M. MAYOR
CHIEF-OF-STAFF AND SPOKESPERSON
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON PEACE, RECONCILIATION AND UNITY