Reds reject localized peace talks proposal under PBBM’s “new” ELCAC

BAGUIO CITY (July 16, 2022)—-
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Saturday flatly rejected localized peace talks being proposal by the revitalized inter-agency counter insurgency task force NTF-ELCAC, arguing that like its predecessor, (the task force’s) tact to hold peace talks at the local levels “are nothing but a smokescreen for psywar, pacification and suppression operations conducted by the AFP, together with its full-scale war of large-scale combat operations, artillery shelling and aerial bombings.”
From the Central Committee to its thousands of branches–and the New People’s Army–from the National Operations Command to the front guerrilla units— the “localized peace talks” are against it,  Marco Valbuena, chief information officer of the CPP Central Committee said in a statement.
Vowing “the revolutionary movement in the Philippines will continue to wage all forms of struggle, especially revolutionary armed struggle,” Valbuena said,  the key “to attaining a just and lasting peace (is) to carry forward the people’s aspiration for national freedom and social justice.”
Valbuena said they are not at all surprised that “the NTF-Elcac will recommend “localized peace talks” because a large part of their lifeline (the so-called “barangay development program”) depends on it.”
The CPP spokesperson insisted that “counterinsurgency policies have been unable to stop the steady growth of the New People’s Army and expansion of its areas of operation.”
Valbuena even claimed, “military officers, especially at the division and battalion levels, are very supportive of localized peace talks because it opens wide open the opportunity to make money from kickbacks and commissions.”
Valbuena likewise chided how National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos turned  oblivious “that peace talks started only in November 1986, which makes the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations not more than 36 years.”  He reminded Carlos, “that most of the time, the negotiations have been suspended, and that the overall time spent in direct face-to-face talks has not lasted a few months overall, as the past regimes could not keep up the pretensions of talking peace.”
Valbuena likewise reminded Carlos, “she should know the significance of the agreements forged and signed over the past years, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).”  He further called on the NSA chief “how they (peace negotiators) were able to make substantial headway in 2017 with their NDFP counterparts in negotiating the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms (CASER) before the talks were terminated by Duterte upon the instigation of the US President Trump.”
The CPP spokesman also laughed at “successes” achieved through localized peace talks as Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez claimed, former AFP chief, now ironically Marcos’ “peace adviser”, asserts that “localized peace talks” have achieved many successes.  “What and where are these successes? Certainly, we have not seen how “localized peace talks” resolved the long-standing problems of landlessness, oppression, and exploitation, even at the local level. The most that the NTF-Elcac has done is fund a few showcase projects so they can make a press release declaring “success”, while the majority of the people continue to wallow in hunger and poverty,” he argued.  Certainly, he added, (successes of localized peace talks could not be measured “by the number of villages under the military’s rule, hamleted, blockaded and ruled by soldiers? Or probably by the number of farmers who are prevented to work in their fields purportedly because they might link up with the NPA? By the number of people enlisted as “surrenderees” after they were subjected to relentless intimidation, coercion, and interrogation? Or perhaps by the millions of pesos that military officers can mulct from the E-CLIP program.”
Valbuena further lambasted the NYF-ELCAC for pushing “localized peace talks” that according to him “(will) pave the way for the expansion of oil palm plantations, mining companies, eco-tourism, and energy projects which grab the land of peasants and minority people, resulting in widespread economic dislocation. This is the reason why the US government is very supportive of the Marcos regime because American-owned multinational corporations want no resistance to their plans to take over more than 250,000 hectares of land in Northern Mindanao, as well as other parts of the country.”
In the end, though,  Valbuena believed, “the NTF-Elcac will only succeed in inciting the people to fight back and defend their land through collective action, as well as by joining the armed revolution.”  He stressed, “the revolutionary movement in the Philippines will continue to wage all forms of struggle, especially revolutionary armed struggle, to carry forward the people’s aspiration for national freedom and social justice.
Artemio A. Dumlao

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