By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City – The National Democratic Front (NDF) fired back at Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who, along with President Duterte, claimed that the absence of peace was due to attacks perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).
Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP peace panel chairperson, claimed that it was the military that always fires the first volleys of fire, with the NPA merely fighting back.
“To say that there will be no peace simply because the NPA continues to fight the forces of the AFP and PNP despite the ongoing peace negotiations is very narrow thinking,” Agcaoili said.
“For one thing, it is the AFP that is on the offensive with its continuing counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan which is no different from the brutal counter-insurgency programs of previous regimes from Corazon Aquino to her son Benigno Aquino III that failed to defeat the CPP-NPA-NDFP,” Agcaoili said.
“Lorenzana and other war hawks within the GRP military establishment continue to regard the CPP-NPA-NDFP as enemies of the state,” Agcaoili said.
“They are not for peace. They are for continuing the war against the revolutionary forces and the people.”
Agcaoili added that the forces of the government were not looking for the political solutions in their push for a total surrender of the rebels.
“Lorenzana and the war hawks are not for a political solution to the armed conflict but for surrender of the revolutionary forces without the needed reforms to change the status quo,” Agcaoili said.
Agcaoili reminded the government that the communist leaders here agreed to speaking with the government after President Duterte’s claims of being “Left.”
“The aim of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is to achieve a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the armed conflict,” Agcaoili said.
Agcaoili said peace should be “based on social justice, human dignity, eradication of poverty, assertion of national sovereignty and independence from foreign domination.”
“That is why the next rounds of the peace talks are aimed at forging agreements on social and economic reforms (CASER), considered as the “meat” of the peace negotiations, and political and constitutional reforms (CAPCR). Only then will there be discussion on the final end to hostilities (CAEHDF),” Agcaoili said.
The government and NDFP return to the negotiation table on May 27 to June 1 in Noordwijk Ann-see in The Netherlands for the fifth round of formal peace talks.
Earlier this week, President Duterte asked the rebels to stop killing government soldiers.
Peace process adviser Jesus Dureza also asked Agcaoili to tell the rebels to “lessen the violence.”