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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Common vision for peace

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We are waiting for the date when the government and the country’s communist rebels will restart peace negotiations after a six-year suspension, aimed at ending 55 years of armed strife that has killed more than 40,000 people.

The bloody conflict between security authorities and the New People’s Army, the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, raged since 1968, when the rebel group was founded and sought to overthrow the government, establish a communist state, and expel US influence from the Philippines.

The NPA soon began guerrilla warfare against the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, assassinating government officials and ambushing army troops.

It gradually increased its strength through the 1970s and 1980s, growing from about 350 armed members in 1971 to more than 20,000 by the late 1980s.

Today, the military estimates the strength of the rebels at 1,800, against the CCP claim of 5,600 in 2018, the year after the peace talks were suspended by then President Rodrigo Duterte.

In November, Norway’s foreign ministry said high-ranking representatives from both sides agreed to a “common vision for peace” that would address major obstacles.

If negotiations succeed, the rebels will end their armed struggle and transform into a political movement, according to Norway.

In their joint statement, released in Oslo, Norway following informal talks that started in The Netherlands, “The parties agree to a principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict,” adding the peace talks will address “deep rooted socioeconomic and political grievances.”

Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Christian Halaas Lyster reiterated his government would continue to support the two sides in search of a solution to the 55-year-old armed struggle of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“Norway remains a committed partner to the parties in search for a solution to this longstanding conflict. With the increased level of conflict we see in the world today, we hope that countries now can look to the Philippines for some hope,” he added.

In their joint communique, the government and the NDFP agreed to come up with a “framework that sets the priorities for the peace negotiation.”

The two parties said they “envision and look forward to a country where a united people can live in peace and prosperity.”

The framework, which will set the parameters for the final peace agreement, shall be agreed upon by both parties.

As the new year starts to roll, we await announcement on when the talks would be held and where, but preferably at home.


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