22 March 2019
BAYAN-Canada, national umbrella organization of patriotic and democratic Filipino people’s organizations, denounces President Rodrigo Duterte’s dissolution of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Duterte refuses to see how this gives hope to many Filipinos by addressing the roots of the 50-year armed conflict in the Philippines between the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and how the international community supports every move for the resumption of peace negotiations between the two governments. He terminated the GPH Presidential Peace Panel who negotiates with the NDFP effective immediately, including the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Panel Chairperson Silvestre Bello III. The regime is now preparing to move towards localized peace talks instead.
This pronouncement is not surprising though as Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 in November 23, 2017 terminating the peace talks between two parties. That move was a sign that the Manila government is not willing at all to discuss ways and means to address the root causes of the civil war.
Majority of our fellow Filipinos in the Philippines already mired in poverty, are reeling from the effects of the imposition of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law, the import-dependent, export-oriented economic system, the absurd debt the government incurred from China to finance Build! Build! Build! project, and backward agrarian industry. They are also impacted by the infamous Operation Plan Tokhang (war on drugs).
Filipino migrants have been also suffering at the hands of the US-Duterte regime. Many more of them continue to leave the country to survive due to the absence of national industries and the lack, if not complete absence of decent work. And when they get in precarious situations, they do not get the protection they need from the government. Instead government exacts fees upon fees that only milk them dry.
Heightened attacks and human rights violations against the poorest in the society, journalists, church people, lawyers, environmental activists, and human rights defenders see no end. State-sponsored killings as in the assassination of the late NDFP Peace Consultant Randy Felix Malayao on January 30, arrests of peace consultants Rey Casambre, Vicente Ladlad, Rafael Baylosis (whose case was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in January), and the recent illegal arrest of Renante Gamara all the more show that this regime has no intent on pursuing a just peace.
His previous pronouncements of genuine independent foreign policy from the United States government is a bogus one. This is evident in US military bases on Philippine soil and US troop involvement in the all-out implementation of Operation Plan Pacific Eagle, a counterinsurgency scheme that began in 2017 with Operation Plan Kapayapaan to destroy the revolutionary forces. These have been wreaking havoc on the lives of peasants and farmworkers, and the indigenous peoples in the hinterlands of the countryside.
It is a no brainer then that the US-Duterte regime has no interest in pursuing the peace talks. He is bound and determined on stamping out all dissent and prolonging his rule, and through martial rule and/or charter change ensuring the unfettered domination and control of foreign, chiefly US, monopoly capitalist interests.
We call on the Filipino people and the international community to oppose and resist all moves of the Duterte regime at imposing blatant fascist dictatorship and to exert all efforts, along all avenues to address the roots of the ongoing civil strife and thereby achieve a just and liberating peace.
(Sgd.) Christopher Sorio
(Sgd.) Rhea A. Gamana