July 28, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia


A Indian Freedom fighter, Chief Cochise of the New Mexico-Arizona Apaches said, “To speak of peace is hard, to work for peace is harder.”

Thus when President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the National Democratic Front (NDF) before a comprehensive agreement could be signed ahead of the peace negotiations in August, 2016 in Oslo, Norway., he talk about peace. And that was not easy. It was hard.

Now, President Duterte is threatening to end the unilateral ceasefire he announced during his SONA last July 25. He was visibly angered about a reported NPA ambush in Davao Del Norte and is asking the NDF for a 24 hour explanation about this. If not, he threatened that “fighting will continue.”

For many political analyst who have been following the peace talks between the NDF and the government of the Philippines for the last 30 years, there has been many ways why ceasefires and agreement failed in the past.

One reason is how the both sides interpret what happened after more than 10 agreements between the two sides and why the peace talks always fall apart for the last 30 years of peace talks.

For so many the government negotiators they point out to the intransigence of the NDF and their vehemence in accepting the constitution as a framework to fall in line on the peace talks. They say that the NDF is not sincere about peace talks and they just use it for their advantage.

On the other hand, the NDF says, the government will not honor the past 10 agreements they have signed with their agreement and always work on “bad faith”. In fact the NDF point out to the fact that they have released a lot of captured PNP and AFP troops.

On the other hand, the government have continually detained more than 30 NDF consultants and more than 530 political detainees. Political killings, arbitrary arrest continues.

The truth is that the Philippine government is the primary and major factor in the peace talks. Careful in giving the NDF the status of belligerency, the GPH has always treated the NDF as “lawless elements” and “criminal groups” in its propaganda with or without the peace talks.

That is why confidence building like the a declaration of unilateral ceasefire on the part of the Duterte administration as well as the release of political detainees are very important. The lack of these goodwill measures will render the peace talks inutile.

For some warmongers and militarists, peace talks are just preparation for war. Its their time to gather intelligence, build up and train their forces and prepare for general offensive once these peace talks failed or stopped.

We can tell how the AFP or the PNP are doing. Their press releases, formal announcements from their spokesmen and actions in the field says more than the peace declarations of President Duterte.

They made it sure that there will no change in their actions. Military operations are not suspended .There were be no troops pull-out.

They will still conduct “defensive operations against lawless elements.”

That’s what peace talks under the Duterte regime looks like.

As they say, “Talk, talk, fight, fight,


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