Reds in presidential bets: study the roots of armed conflict

Artemio Dumlao – The Filipino Star

October 18, 2021 | 00h00

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) reminds aspiring presidents to develop a “deeper understanding of the roots of armed conflict” if they strive for a just and lasting peace.

The CPP issued the statement following remarks by Vice President Leni Robredo and Mayor of Manila Isko Moreno on their views on resolving the country’s insurgency problem.

Robredo, whose presidential candidacy is backed by the Liberal Party (LP), is said to have said she believes there is a need for “localized peace talks” as a way to tackle the “roots of the problem”, which she believes are necessary. identified as poverty and inequality.

For his part, Moreno, presidential candidate for Aksyon Demokratiko, reportedly described members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as people “who may have gone astray” and who must be convinced to “return to the fold. “. of the law because “there is only one government”.

In response, the CPP said Robredo and Moreno “must move beyond the superficial and myopic view that the civil war raging across the country is simply the result of ‘local’ conditions and not of systemic problems. largely affecting the masses of peasants, workers and middle classes – especially the lack of land reform and national industrialization, which previous governments refused to undertake as a program to achieve social justice, self-reliance economic and progress.

Marco Valbuena, spokesperson for the CPP Central Committee, said that “the other presidential candidates have yet to share their plans on how to advance the peace negotiations with the revolutionary armed movement.”

Valbuena also reminded Robredo that President Duterte himself had promoted “local peace negotiations”.

He was also long promoted by Sara Duterte-Carpio as mayor of Davao, although he turned out to be a complete failure, he said.

Instead of promoting peace, “local peace negotiations” have been equated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “surrender campaign” where local residents arbitrarily accused of being members of the NPA are forced to “lend. loyalty ”to AFP, the RPC spokesperson said.

He said this approach has also been “accompanied by widespread human rights violations where the peasant masses have been subjected to relentless surveillance and intelligence operations, intimidation, unlawful arrests based on forged accusations from all sides. plays and extrajudicial executions “.

Valbuena said Robredo – being a former human rights lawyer – must address abuses by the military and police as part of the “local peace negotiations” strategy.

Challenge all those who aspire to be the next president, the CPP spokesperson asked: “Are these candidates ready to overturn Duterte’s anti-peace talks policy by repealing Proclamations 370 and 374, dismantling the National-ELCAC Working Group and abolishing the Anti-Terrorism Law (LTA) which are so many giant barriers to the resumption of peace negotiations?

Also according to the CPP, “local peace negotiations” have been used as a veil to cover up widespread corruption involving hundreds of millions of pesos in funds for “livelihood” and “balik-barrel” programs, where people have fled. gathered to receive “grants” sign blank papers, later used as proof of their so-called surrender.

“These views on the peace negotiations are known to have been promoted by the United States and the armed forces of the Philippines in their zealous efforts to obstruct the peace negotiations,” he added.

Valbuena said it remains to be seen whether the presidential candidates will firmly oppose the Duterte regime’s “kill, kill, kill” policy and take a stance that reflects the aspirations of peace advocates.