“We too want the peace talks to resume to stop the violence and the bloodshed. But the two sides must rethink their respective positions and be willing to compromise”
TBH, I don’t know. And I don’t think anyone knows.
That’s an Instagram currency which means “to be honest.”
But that doesn’t stop people from asking the new administration to resume political negotiations with the mainstream Left.
The Reds, as the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) insists, include not only the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) but also militant party-list groups, sectoral organizations, and even the religious.
Then, if we’re to believe rabid pro-administration bloggers, even Senator Loren Legarda is “Red,” because she had in the past negotiated with the rebels for the release of their military captives, including a general.
That, they claim, shows that she has contacts in the underground and therefore must be a closet rebel as well, or at least has a soft spot for those who have taken up arms against the government.
That logic is consistent with what’s been called the “duck theory” of communism, which says that “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.”
If we extend that logic to the realm of humans, if someone looks like a communist, walks like a communist, and talks like a communist, ergo he/she is a communist.
The veteran senator got into the crosshairs of pro-admin bloggers after she expressed concern over attacks on ideologies that deviate from the mainstream in the wake of what seemed to be an avalanche of “red-tagging” and the banning of “subversive” books.
Here’s what she actually said: “Believing in an ideology which may be different from the majority, in layman’s term(s) believing in philosophies that may be left of center, so to speak, does not make anyone subversive… I hope that the peace talks can be revived so that we… can work together towards peace, equity, and authentic, real reforms in the countryside.”
And more: ‘’All I can say is that having celebrated National Heroes’ Day, there are many heroes in our midst whom we see and who we do not see and know. Even heroes who may be associated with the CPP. I declare that I have worked with the NDF, and I am not ashamed of it.’’
She isn’t done yet: “I would not pass judgment and label certain organizations whose beliefs may be different from the general majority… When we look at it, we bear similar objectives, visions, dreams for our people.’’
And perhaps what she said later is what got some people really hot under the collar.
She said there isn’t any law or pronouncement from the government that has stated that the CPP or similar organizations, movements, beliefs, associations are enemies of the state: “If we see and study what they actually believe and want, it is social justice.”
It’s not just this longtime lawmaker who wants peace to reign in this benighted land.
There’s also National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, a retired professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines.
She had indicated early on that she is amenable to resuming the peace talks with the NDF to resolve the more than 50-year armed rebellion still festering in the Philippine countryside.
Apart from Secretary Carlos, the religious sector is also urging President Marcos Jr. to reconstitute the government peace panel with the NDF.
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), a network of church leaders from various religious federations, including the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, the Conference of Major Superiors of the Philippines, and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum, is also appealing to the new Chief Executive to resume the peace negotiations canceled by the Duterte administration in 2017.
The cancelation was announced after a brief dalliance with the CPP-NPA-NDF that included the release from prison of some of its top leaders to take part in the negotiations that ultimately failed.
The PEPP seems to be undeterred, however, in pursuing its call for peace talks: “Every administration, including that of your father, intensified its respective counter-insurgency program aimed at defeating the communist rebellion.
“Despite the massive campaigns implemented by these administrations to end this armed conflict, it has continued to rage, particularly in the countryside, causing internal displacement in the most vulnerable communities.
“This long-running conflict only mirrors how deeply embedded its roots are in social injustice. Can there be peace without justice and meaningful change in the lives of the majority of our people who continue to wallow in poverty and misery?”
They added: “We are committed to working together for the common advocacy of achieving a just and enduring peace in our country.”
We too want the peace talks to resume to stop the violence and the bloodshed. But the two sides must rethink their respective positions and be willing to compromise.
For as long as there’s unrest and disquiet in the countryside, we cannot hope to bring about sustained socio-economic development that will eliminate absolute poverty and improve the quality of life of the poor and the powerless.