The future of the peace talks in the remainder of Aquino's term

Ang Bayan
January 7, 2013

Deceitful. A predator waiting to pounce. This is what the Government of the Philippines (GPH) has really been like in entering into a ceasefire agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) until January 15.

The NDFP and the GPH agreed to a ceasefire on December 18 in an effort to push forward the peace negotiations. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have been trampling on the ceasefire by its forward deployment of forces and its relentless conduct of operations against the New People's Army (NPA) and the revolutionary people.

The GPH's scoundrelism and exploitativeness become very evident when one recounts the events since December 17-18.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared a ceasefire on December 20 in support of efforts to jumpstart the long-stalled peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GPH.

In accordance with an agreement arrived at by special representatives of the GPH and the NDFP in a meeting at the embassy of the Royal Norwegian Government at The Hague, The Netherlands on December 17-18, both parties were to declare reciprocal ceasefires from December 20 to January 15 and undertake a new round of talks in the first days of 2013.

The Party immediately relayed the order for a ceasefire to the NPA.

The GPH had likewise declared its own ceasefire, but only from December 16 to January 2. It therefore needed to issue a formal order to all AFP and PNP units and commands to extend the ceasefire to January 15. But the Aquino regime stubbornly refused up to the last minute to issue its own ceasefire extension order. This, despite the CPP and NDFP's reminders through statements and letters to extend the ceasefire, as agreed upon.

The Aquino regime's disregard for the agreement compelled the CPP to rescind its earlier ceasefire order and cut it short to January 2, likewise in accordance with  the NDFP's recommendation. This was to avoid putting the NPA at an undue disadvantage.

Benigno Aquino III belatedly issued an order extending the GPH ceasefire only on the afternoon of January 2, fifteen days after this was agreed upon.

The NDFP therefore recommended anew to the CPP to reextend the ceasefire to January 15, which the Party responded to forthwith.

The CPP's immediate response to the NDFP's ceasefire recommendations shows the Party and all the entire revolutionary movement's interest in moving the peace talks forward.

The NDFP and the CPP also showed in no uncertain terms to the GPH that in the serious conduct of negotiations, both parties must show themselves capable of complying with agreements, respecting their counterparts and undertaking reciprocal actions.

Aquino still has a lot to do to prove that he is indeed serious in conducting peace negotiations.

He must stop using the peace talks merely for the purpose of hoodwinking the revolutionary forces into entering a ceasefire of indefinite duration. He must realize that the CPP and NDFP cannot enter into such a ceasefire that would suppress and weaken the NPA. Doing so would render the peace talks meaningless, transform it into a framework for surrender and preserve and even worsen the basic issues that lie at the roots of the civil war.

He must rectify past violations of signed agreements. He must release the 14 detained NDFP consultants out of respect for the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). He must also release the more than 400 political detainees, because their continued incarceration violates the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Those who ordered the forced disappearance of NDFP consultants like Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid and Rogelio Calubad, among others, must be punished.

Aquino must show seriousness in addressing the basic issues of land reform and national industrialization, whose absence is behind the people's poverty and the country's backwardness and the root of the raging civil war in the Philippines.

Aquino must show readiness to unite with the Filipino people in defending Philippine national sovereignty instead of catering to US imperialism's every whim.

In the face of the rabidly reactionary, antipeople and fascist character and servility to the US of Aquino and all other presidents of the puppet republic, it is truly unimaginable for them to unite with the revolutionary forces on a program that advocates the people's national and democratic interests. For the past two years, Aquino has paralyzed the peace talks because he has trampled and reneged on  the agreements that have been reached.

The revolutionary movement wants to rectify the path being taken by the peace negotiations. But the revolutionary forces also know that this can only happen along with the intensification of armed struggle and the invigoration of the democratic mass movement, both of which banner the people's national-democratic aspirations and mobilize the people in their millions.