• EDITORIAL

    Peace talks with the communists and communist prisoners

    8

    IT is welcome and reassuring to hear President Duterte elucidate a new government policy on peace talks with the communist insurgents, whom he bluntly labels “terrorists.” He articulates a more clear-eyed perspective on the 46-year-old communist insurgency, which is the oldest communist rebellion on the planet, and on the unending demand of the CPP/NDF/NPA for the release of communist political prisoners. And he has told the Armed Forces to prepare for war against the communists.

    If one or all of the more than 400 communist prisoners are freed by the government, what guarantees are provided by the CPP/NDF/NPA that they will not wage war anew against the government once given liberty?

    This is the common-sense question that is being asked by every soldier of the Armed Forces, and by every law-abiding citizen of the Republic.

    They fear justifiably that the prisoners’ release could mean 46 additional years of the communist insurgency in our land.

    They are suspicious that from the way the CPP-NPA is talking, there will never be an end to the communist rebellion, and the many miseries it has been inflicting on our people, our communities, and businesses across the land.

    A resolute war effort is a sound course of action for the nation to take because these compatriots of ours have been engaged in rebellion against the Republic for so long, and the cost to the nation has been colossal.

    Rebellion should not be confused with mere political dissent. Rebellion is organized opposition to a government or political authority, whereas dissent is only an expression of disagreement with authority. Rebellion is armed and violent; dissent is largely vocal and symbolic.

    Rebellion is one of the reasons recognized by the Constitution for the declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by the President, acting as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

    There is much confusion in the public mind about the gravity of the act of rebellion because of the way known rebels flit in and out of detention, and then act as though they have done nothing unlawful.

    We raise this issue because in democracies more mature than ours, the act of rebellion is treated with tough-minded application of the law and utter seriousness, in a way that would preclude the return of the rebel to armed struggle against the government.

    Take the United States, for instance. In the words of one noted conservative pundit: “Once you take up arms against the United States, you become an enemy combatant, thereby forfeiting the privileges of citizenship and the protections of the Constitution, including due process. You retain only the protection of the laws of war – no more and no less than those of foreign enemy combatants. A senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, suggests stripping such traitors of their citizenship, thereby formalizing their extra-constitutional status.”

    In the Philippines, we tend to be softheaded and sentimental in our treatment of citizens who rebel against the Republic.

    Communist rebels have standing as citizens of the Republic. They can even run for important political post, and sit in office if they win.

    We have passed a law that inexplicably provides reparations to rebels who suffered disabilities or torturous treatment as a result of their rebellion.

    President Duterte, in a grand gesture, invited the communists to serve in his administration, and take over the administration of key government departments.

    The President has been wakened from his fantasy of a complete peace agreement with the CPP/NDF/NPA by the triple shock of 1) AFP soldiers/officers killed by the NPA during a supposed ceasefire; 2) the announced lifting of the communist ceasefire on February 10; and 3) the monotonous demand for the release of communist prisoners.

    He sees that resolution of the insurgency is possible through the earnest prosecution of counter-insurgency measures, and that the people will support him in this effort.

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    8 Comments

    1. This editorial just spoke of the hard and bitter truth that we must embrace. We have hoped that peace would have been made possible. But in the absence of sincerity from the other side, it’s all reduced to an exercise in futility.

    2. I have always said time and time again that having peace talks with communist rebels is futile. Why? It is because what they truly want is to grab power and not to return as farmers or laborers. Getting revolutionary tax is easier to do to fund their lifestyle than working at least 8 hours a day at minimum wage. They also avoid paying taxes to our government. It is all about greed. The same goes with the Muslim rebels. They want the whole of Mindanao to be under their group/s because of self-serving interests. The Sharia Law is just secondary to them. All forms of rebellion are about grabbing power whether it is beneficial for the whole or not. I hope Duterte will not change his mind again about the CPP/NPA whom he has coddled in Mindanao to save Davao for this terrorists. And this opinion is coming from me, a former leftist who supported the armed struggle of Joma Sison in the 80s. Now, I know the truth about the CPP/NPA and their leftist/communist sympathizers. Marcos was right about them but the propaganda and lies they perpetuated against FM were too convincing that until now, some still believe that FM was pure evil when in fact, those who rebelled against him were not victims of human rights violations but were fallen enemies of the war against insurgency. The only true innocent victims were those who did not join the NPAs and those caught in the crossfire. In fact, both the Muslim and communist rebels were also guilty and are still guilty of human rights violations but no one seems to be telling people about their atrocities and many keep defending them, good grief!

    3. Editorial: Maraming salamat! Malinao ang punto de vista! In all quarters let the blood flow continue and social cost mount as long as it will be resolved.

    4. It’s a very clear and truthful analysis. CPP/NPA announced lifting of ceasefire on February 10 while NDF were negotiating a peace process in Rome.It means to say that they have no respect anymore to NDF negotiators and NDF cannot anymore dictate the leaders of the CPP/NPA.

      d

    5. Treating them with kid’s gloves, that’s how I and millions of country-loving Pilipinos perceive the govt’s stnce towards communist rebels. As if the bunch of gun-wielding “spoiled brats” (Duterte’s words) could push and shove around at will. I agree, for the first time, with the President’s decision to scrap off the on-going peace talk and go after those rebels. Up to the last man! And, in tandem, seriously, with firm and relentless resolve, pursue plans of addressing the roots of militancy and rebellion in our domain.