EDITORIAL| We dream of peace

ON JULY 25, 2016, in his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte formally opened the path to peace, exhorting the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front to return to the negotiating table, stalled during the previous administration, and to hammer a final peace agreement.

The ensuing peace negotiations supported by the Royal Norwegian Government, to quote Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, went through humps and bumps, yet there was so much eager anticipation from both sides to work on the substantive agenda set by The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on the Sequence, Formation and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees.

On Nov. 22, 2017, the president ordered the cancellation of the peace negotiations which hit a snag in the first quarter of the year. Dureza then announced the suspension of the negotiations “until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident.”

Yesterday, December 5, President Duterte on national television declared the “CPP-NPA as designated and/or identified as a terrorist organization pursuant to the Section 3 and 15 of the RA 10168 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque explained the classification as a terrorist organization is in accordance to RA No. 10168 or the Human Security Act. The National Democratic Front was not mentioned or classified as among the terrorist group. While this still has to go through a legal process, we wonder about its immediate implications to the communities that are tagged as supporting the rebel groups.

In his first State of the Nation Address, the president uttered one of the best, if not the best, a statement we ever heard which could have only come from the heart. He said:

“Let me make this appeal to you: “If we cannot, as yet, love one another, then in God’s name, let us not hate each other too much,” so it was said… We will strive to have a permanent and lasting peace before my term ends. That is my goal, that is my dream.”

Posted in Opinion