THE recent arrests of top communist leaders, the scheduled signing of the final peace pact with Muslim rebels and the people’s mounting calls for peace are among the factors that would put “pressure” on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to resume talks with the government, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
According to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita “Ging” Deles, many stakeholders in the peace process with the National Democratic Front (NDF) believe that the group will have no other option eventually but to abandon the armed struggle and work for peace.
“The signing of a peace agreement [with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF]and the settlement of armed conflict with any other group that is in the same [country], certainly, exert certain pressures on any of the armed movement[s]that is not yet moving along those lines,” Deles said in a press briefing at the Palace.
“And that is not just military. It’s how people look at them, it’s how people’s expectations are shaped. It’s how people will make demands that if this can be done here, in what has certainly been a very difficult peace process . . . why can’t it happen with you as well?” she added.
Deles said the conclusion of the peace agreement with the MILF puts pressure on the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) whose leaders, couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, were arrested by authorities over the weekend in Cebu province.
According to the Palace official, they have “talked to many people and stakeholders” who see the government’s position as reasonable.
“We hope more and more people will talk to them as well . . . We hope more and more will get to them. We hope that they will see all the other things that are going on now,” Deles said.
She added that communities that have been affected by the conflict with the NPA are now opting for peace and that the “international climate looking at peace processes, supporting the conclusion of real peace agreements [and]some judicial decisions that have been coming up or are coming up” should compel the local communist group to resume talks with them.
“We know that more and more people are calling for peace. We hear that in the communities that have been affected by the NPA conflict, and so we hope that they will continue to look at these realities and begin to see how the country is moved forward when you have a peace agreement and besides that they would like to be part of such a progressive movement as well,” Deles said.
She added that the signing of the peace agreement with the MILF should also prompt the NDF “to work with government in partnership to look for solution that can work” instead of coming up with demands that are “not doable.”
Deles noted that past efforts to reach out to the NDF bogged down when the latter decided to change the terms of a special draft that should have guided them.
But she said that no matter how difficult it is to deal with the CPP-NPA-NDF, the government’s position will remain the same.
“We have said that we would like the peace negotiations to resume. We would like peace talks to resume on the basis of a clear, doable, time-bound agenda. And we certainly remain hopeful that within this administration, there will be leaders on the other side that will also come to the same conclusion,” Deles said.