Party-list solon warns local peace talks to fail

Party-list Congressman Carlos Isagani T. Zarati said the  localized peace-talks initiated by Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio is bound to fail  as this will not address the problems of insurgency in the country.

The Bayan Muna party-list representative told EDGE Davao that localized peace talks will not address the root causes of the almost five-decade old armed rebellion waged by the Communist Party of Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the country.

“In the past, localized talks were and will only be used by the government –the military establishment particularly that is so frustratingly fixated in defeating the communist rebellion through several failed anti-insurgency military campaigns — to try again and make the rebels surrender and capitulate,” Zarate said.

He said that the people should learn from the lessons of the country’s history.

“How can localized talks solve the decades of problem of landlessness of our majority peasant population? Of the continued exploitation and attack on security of tenure of our workers? Of the continued displacement and exploitation of our Lumads from their ancestral lands? Of the Bangsamoro’s right to genuine self-determination? And a lot more of people’s issues.” He said.

Zarate said if the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte is really sincere in solving this rebellion, it should pursue without conditions the stalled fifth round of peace talks, complete and sign the comprehensive agreement on social-economic and political reforms with the NDF.

“Any initiative less than substantially solving the nationwide socio-economic and political problems that breed rebellion, is doomed to fail,” Zarate said.

He said both the government and the NDF should push even more the bold and painstaking progress in the substantive agenda of the talks that was reached by the two peace panels in the past four rounds of talks between August 2016 and April 2017.

On October 31, President Duterte expressed his support on the initiative of Duterte-Carpio for a localized peace talks between the government and the NPAin the city.

The president also said the national government is still willing to continue the talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF). “I am not about ready to give up everything and anything in the altar of peace for our country,” Duterte said.

He said that he will not fight the rebels with money but he wants these people to surrender and have a new life. Duterte said if the rebels will lay down their arms, they will be the beneficiaries of the 5,000 housing project he will be building under the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Earlier, Duterte-Carpio said the local peace committee (DC PEACE) will be given up to November 30 next year to pursue dialogue with the rebels and there is no positive development “there is no point” that the city would continue the dialogue.

The mayor said the members of the communist need not surrender their firearms because her plan is to make them work with the government.

She said the city government is flexible just to attain the elusive dream of peace.