CPP-NPA-NDF in defiant, blatant and serious challenge vs. government
The government negotiating panel on May 27 Saturday afternoon (Manila time) pulled out from the fifth round-of-talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) citing the “blatant and serious challenge” by the communist group to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement read by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in a press conference in Noordwijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands, the government panel cited several other reasons why it withdrew.
One of major setback was the recent public statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordering the New People’s Army to accelerate and intensify attacks against the government following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao even if this was “principally directed at extremists and terrorists who openly and defiantly challenged the government and put to harm the Filipino people.”
“By such defiant, blatant and serious challenge by the CPP-NPA-NDF directed at the government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Dureza said referring to the CPP call to its armed unit.
This, despite all these gains in the work for peace and despite the personal show of goodwill and trust by the President, according to Dureza.
Among the other reasons are the upscale of incidents of offensive attacks by the NPA nationwide; the seeming perception of the bigger public that the NPA operations are an open and public defiance of the President who has consistently accommodated them in unprecedented ways; the renewed surfacing of public apprehension questioning the sincerity of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the peace talks; the public admission of some panel members of the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders that they have no control over their forces on the ground.
Dureza also mentioned the sudden and perceptible erosion of public support to the peace talks, with strong messages received from the public to altogether stop peace negotiations and the clamor to pursue localized peace talks.
The panel has left without any recourse but not to proceed in the 5th round-of-talks until such time that “there are clear indications that an enabling environment conducive to achieving a just and sustainable peace,” Dureza stressed.
“We thank the Royal Norwegian Government which has so far steadfastly and fully supported our joint work for peace for so long. I trust it will understand why we at the Philippine Government side have arrived at the decision,” he added.
The 5th round of negotiations would have tackled the socioeconomic reform agenda. Both sides are also expected to tackle the parameters of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. (Lilian C. Mellejor with reports by Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)