By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang brushed off the rejection of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) of the localized peace talks being pursued by the government following the failed attempt to restart the formal negotiations with the communist group.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the CPP called the localized peace talks a “sham, a waste of people’s money, and are doomed to fail.”
“It is a worn-out psywar tactic to project victory to conceal the continuing failure of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to suppress the people’s resistance and stem the steady growth of the NPA (New People’s Army),” the CPP said in a statement.
In his Twitter account, CPP founder Joma Sison said President Duterte only wants to “negotiate with his own shadow.”
“So-called localized peace talks are an old discredited psywar tactic. It is a kind of racket, with the local political followers and military agents of Duterte pocketing the money for the fake surrenders,” Sison said.
Roque, in a statement, said the government is offering the localized peace talks to the members of the communist group who are on the ground and not those who are living comfortably outside the country.
“The government’s offer for localized peace talks is to fighting insurgents on the ground and not to their alleged leaders living comfortable lives in Europe,” Roque said.
“We will await responses of those who are risking their lives and limbs on what appears to be a hopeless cause,” he added.
Malacañang said earlier this week that President Duterte will soon issue an Executive Order (EO) which spells out the finalized guidelines for the conduct of localized peace talks.
On Wednesday, Duterte gathered in a special meeting the Cabinet’s security, peace, and justice clusters to finalize the said guidelines.
The government will now allow local officials to engage in localized peace talks which would be nationally orchestrated, centrally directed, and locally supervised and implemented.
The necessary enabling environment set by the President for the formal local talks to proceed are local venue; no coalition government or power-sharing; no revolutionary taxes, arson, extortion and other violent activities; and the fighters to remain in their predesignated encampment areas.
According to Roque, it was also agreed during the special meeting that there would be four kinds of localized peace talks—one which involves a third party.
The other forms of localized peace talks utilize a community dialogue and exploitation of social media and community pressure; offers a “direct availment” of the government’s peace initiative including integration mainstreaming support; and a confidential dialogue.
After canceling the peace talks in November last year, Duterte decided to give the negotiations with the Reds another try in March this year. However, CPP founder thumbed down one of Duterte’s conditions that the talks should be held in the country.