DUMAGUETE CITY – No to peace talks. This was the declaration of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as she asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to reopen the negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Fresh from her trip with the President in China, Mayor Sara issued a statement on Friday, saying that suspending the peace talks would not only mean ending the delusion of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDFP, but would also allow the realization of long-delayed growth and the development of the countrysides.
She said, “It also means giving justice to the victims of these terrorists. “Just like a battered lover, there is a time to finally say no to pain and suffering.”
She pointed out that pursuing peace talks with the communist group is counterproductive and plainly useless.
“While I trust the wisdom of the President and his intention to end the insurgency problem peacefully, I believe pursuing peace talks with the NDFP-CPP-NPA is counterproductive and plainly useless,” she said.
“Mr President, the country will move forward if the government is able to eliminate the rebels and end this senseless rebellion,” she urged the President.
Earlier, the President said he was open to the resumption of the peace talks but, demanded a bilateral ceasefire, no taxes, no other atrocities and harassments.
He repeated this Friday following his fruitful trip from China.
The President wanted the peace talks in the country and would be willing to cover all the expenses of all NDFP peace panel and consultants from plane fare to hotel.
He even guaranteed their safety and security while in the country.
“I have invited everybody outside of the Philippines who are communist members to come home, the leaders, and we can talk. I will give them my personal and official guarantee during the two months na magpunta sila ditto (when they come here), they will not be arrested, they will not be molested, and they will not be whatever, caused any inconvenience,” he declared.
“Just come here as a plain citizen, you are protected by our policy of rapprochement with an open heart and wala man sila ‘yang pera kaya nanununog ‘yang mga yan kasi ‘yung hindi magbigay sunugin nila (they have no money that is the reason they burn and those who do not give they burn),” he said.
The President even offered to deliver assistance, food in all their camps just to hold the line until there is a concrete and substantial peace agreement to sign.
Duterte said he is doing all these in furtherance of his desire, the nation’s desire to have peace.
But Mayor Sara in her statement said the insurgency problem can only be ended peacefully if the NDFP and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are sincere, honest, and committed to working toward the direction of peace and reciprocate the gesture offered by the government.
However, she added there are no indications at all that the CPP-NPA-NDFP are willing to negotiate for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“History will also tell us that the communist movement is not to be trusted as they have consistently shown us their deep-seated proclivity to sow hate, violence and extremism, destruction, and senseless killings. These are groups motivated by the desire to overthrow the government and rule the nation,” she said.
She pointed out that peace for the CPP-NPA-NDF is not an option because they are terrorists. “We maintain our position that we are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but deal with them the way we should — tough, strong, high intensity, and one that gathers all sectors to completely crush their influence in communities where they are present,” she added.
The mayor recalled the many atrocities perpetrated by the NPA like the killing of Larry Buenafe, the fish vendor who died because the NPA detonated a landmine in Mandug last year; the orphaned children of the poor civilians, the soldiers, police officers who were killed by the NPA in the name of a rusty ideology and deranged revolution.
She also recalled the four-month-old Malysha Machorao who died after an NPA staged an ambush in Bukidnon last year. And, the recent burning of heavy equipment in Davao City resulting in the delay of road projects and holding up the development of the communities in the affected areas.
The mayor said, “there should be a stop to the insanity of these terrorists — or more children will be orphaned, more civilians will be killed, more soldiers will die, and many more facilities and equipment will be burned, setting back development by a hundred years.”
The mayor was concerned that if talks are revived it is certain that the NPAs will continue to terrorize government forces and civilians, discharge offensives and unabated destruction, while recruitment of minors, farmers, lumads, workers, and students would continue courtesy of its legal fronts.
“We should stop rewarding these terrorists with our attention, resources, and time,” she added. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)