ABOVE THE FOLD: Why Mayor Sara is against the peace talks

On Friday, Mayor Inday Sara Duterte announced she is not supporting the revival of the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

But the announcement was also a pointed, strongly worded appeal addressed to her father, President Rody, to reconsider the decision to resume the peace talks — she made this just a day after she and the President arrived in Davao City from a trip to China and Hong Kong, where she accompanied him for the first time.

Apparently, Mayor Sara was playing a different song in her head even as she said she trusts the wisdom and intention of the President to end the insurgency problem peacefully.

Mayor Sara’s song is now finally out. As of this writing, it is starting to pleasantly crawl into the heads of many, signalling a massive warm brain itch. And it might, as it is threatening, to explode into a thunderous national chorus.

But I believe Mayor Sara’s stand on the peace talks should serve as a challenge to the NDFP, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the New People’s Army.

Here’s the mayor’s statement on the resumption of the peace talks with the NDFP:

Respectfully, I am asking President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to reopen the negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

I believe the insurgency problem can only be ended peacefully if the NDFP and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are sincere, honest, and committed to working toward the direction of peace and reciprocate the gesture offered by the government.

But there are no indications at all that they are willing to negotiate for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

History will also tell us that the communist movement is not to be trusted as they have consistently shown us their deep-seated proclivity to sow hate, violence and extremism, destruction, and senseless killings.

These are groups motivated by the desire to overthrow the government and rule the nation.

For them, peace is not an option. And that’s because they are terrorists.

We maintain our position that we are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but deal with them the way we should — tough, strong, high intensity, and one that gathers all sectors to completely crush their influence in communities where they are present.

Let us not forget Larry Buenafe, the fish vendor who died because the NPA detonated a landmine in Mandug last year.

Let us not forget Larry’s two very young children now growing without a father — and the many other orphaned children of other hapless, mostly poor civilians.

Let us not forget the orphaned children of our brave soldiers and police officers killed by the NPAs in the name of a rusty ideology and deranged revolution.

And how could we possibly forget Malysha Machorao who died after an NPA ambush in Bukidnon last year. She was only 4-months-old.

Very recently, the NPAs burned down almost a dozen heavy equipment in Davao City, delaying the construction of roads and holding up the development of the communities in the affected areas.

We should put a stop into the insanity of these terrorists — or more children will be orphaned, more civilians will be killed, more soldiers will die, and many more facilities and equipment will be burned, setting back development by a hundred years.

If talks are revived, we are almost certain that the NPAs will continue to terrorize government forces and civilians. They will discharge offensives and unabated destruction, while recruitment of minors, farmers, lumads, workers, and students would continue courtesy of its legal fronts.

We should stop rewarding these terrorists with our attention, resources, and time.

Suspending the peace talks would not only mean ending the delusion of these terrorists, but would also allow the realization of long-delayed growth and the development of our countryside villages.

It also means giving justice to the victims of these terrorists.

While I trust the wisdom of the President and his intention to end the insurgency problem peacefully, I believe pursuing peace talks with the NDFP-CPP-NPA is counterproductive and plainly useless.

Mr President, the country will move forward if the government is able to eliminate the rebels and end this senseless rebellion.

Just like a battered lover, there is a time to finally say no to pain and suffering. No to peace talks.