Editorial | From optimism to confusion

THERE was so much optimism at the beginning of the Duterte presidency that a final peace agreement between the National Democratic Front and the Philippine Government will be hammered out before his term ends. For most members of the peace panel on both sides, this was the best time to once and for all end the decades-old strife.

In an interview with Mindanao Times in Utrecht, The Netherlands on August 8, 2016, a few weeks before the resumption of the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway, Joma Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) expressed optimism that the substantive agenda of the peace agreement will be pursued sincerely by both parties.

He was confident Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III, the Philippine government’s (GPH) peace panel chair, share the same aspiration of laying down a peace agreement under the Duterte administration.

Two years later, we are looking at a vastly different scenario.

On Nov. 23, 2017, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-The New People’s Army. The reason was the “acts of violence and hostilities” the CPP-NDF-NPA committed as well as their failing to “show their sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiation.”

Everything went downhill since then.

The city government has issued statements condemning the NPA’s destruction of equipment over the past days, the recent one by Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang over the burning of 10 construction heavy equipment in the city last Saturday, March 31.

How can the destruction of property advance the interest of the Filipino people? This was the question Dayanghirang posed in yesterday’s council session. And this could be the question in the minds of those who continue to dream of a negotiated peace agreement.


Posted in Opinion