“Nothing new in Sison’s three scenarios as well as in his conclusion, as these have been the standard line in his pronouncements since he founded the CPP in 1968”
Will we ever get to see the end of the longstanding armed rebellion in this country within the foreseeable future through peace talks?
That’s highly unlikely, at least in the next six years.
The Marcos administration appears totally lukewarm to the idea of resuming the cancelled peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
In fact, the continued existence of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), which figured in controversial Red-tagging of various legal organizations identified with the mainstream Left during the previous administration, indicates that the Marcos administration is in no mood at all to rub shoulders and talk peace with the Reds.
Instead, the NTF-Elcac is recommending to the new president that amnesty be offered to the CPP-NPA.
According to National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, vice-chair of the Task Force (the President is the chairman), “the NTF-Elcac’s efforts to ensure peace and development for all Filipinos will continue.”
The offer of amnesty is aimed at preventing the “resurgence of the communist terrorist group, especially in geographically challenged, isolated and disadvantaged areas,” according to the retired UP professor.
Details of the amnesty, including who will be covered by it, have not been finalized, Carlos said, and it needs to be approved by the President, who may issue a proclamation for the purpose.
What is clear at this point is that the task force is not recommending the resumption of national-level peace talks, although the President can resume peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Based on our assessment of the more than 50 years of our negotiation with the CPP, we have attained no significant successes with national peace talks,” said Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., a former military chief.
But the government, Galvez said, would continue with “localized” peace talks, where local chief executives and local peace and order councils are empowered to address the problem of local terrorism “because they know best the solution.”
The rebels, however, frown on local peace talks. Neither, it would seem, are they enthusiastic at all about resuming national-level peace talks.
On the Academia.com website, we stumbled upon the preface of a book on the peace talks by Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the CPP and now in exile in the Netherlands.
Sison outlined three scenarios for peace talks to take place.
One, the NDF will resume peace negotiations “when honest third-party advocates of a just peace and enlightened elements in the GRP offer peace negotiations as a just, reasonable and feasible way to address the basic problems of the people and arrive at the solutions in the form of basic reforms for the benefit of the people.”
That will not prevent them, he said, the revolutionary forces “to explain and propagate their program for a new democratic revolution in the course of peace negotiations.”
Two, “the best circumstances for peace negotiations are when the armed revolution is about to complete its general offensive and gives a chance to the final holdouts of the enemy the chance to exchange prisoners of war and surrender to the people’s side; or short of achieving complete victory in the civil war there is an agreement to engage in truce and national unity for independence, democracy, genuine land reform and national industrialization or confront and fight against a far worse reactionary enemy or a foreign aggressor.”
And three, “let me consider the possibility that through peace negotiations the GRP and NDF agree to cease and desist from trying to destroy each other and decide to take the road of national unity and reconciliation, full national independence, democracy, social justice and economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization and expansion of social services by using as the key the availment of certain natural resources (marine and mineral) that the Philippines has in abundance in the West Philippine Sea (aside from the methane nodules, oil deposits and heavy metals in Benham Rise), instead of allowing or emboldening China as one more imperialist power to violate the national sovereignty of the Filipino people, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Arbitration Commission in favor of the Philippines against China.”
Sison’s conclusion: “Without the aforesaid circumstances, the broad masses of the Filipino people need to pursue their new democratic revolution until they end the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system through a protracted people’s war.”
Nothing new in Sison’s three scenarios as well as in his conclusion, as these have been the standard line in his pronouncements since he founded the CPP in 1968.
What is new, however, from where we sit, is his explicit denunciation of China as “one more imperialist power” capable of violating our national sovereignty, UNCLOS and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal on the South China Sea maritime dispute.
Hmmm. We wonder what the Communist Party of China with whom the CPP had close fraternal relations since 1968 until Mao Zedong passed away in 1976 and Beijing embarked on the road to “socialism with Chinese characteristics” has to say about this.