Duterte: road to peace is “always rocky” but talks with NDF will continue

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 01 August) – The road to peace is “always rocky” and even if his declaration of unilateral ceasefire was not reciprocated, peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) will continue, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday at the mass oath-taking of undersecretaries at the Rizal Hall in Malacanang.

“There is no negotiation that comes easy to us especially given the turmoil of our  country. We are hoping that we could just talk, maybe we did not understand each other. And so, the best way is really, is to talk again and find out whether (peace) is reachable or beyond our reach,” he told the appointees.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte answers queries from members of the media after administering the oath of office for the newly-appointed undersecretaries of different government agencies at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on August 1, 2016. ACE MORANDANTE/PPD
President Rodrigo R. Duterte answers queries from members of the media after administering the oath of office for the newly-appointed undersecretaries of different government agencies at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on August 1, 2016. ACE MORANDANTE /PPD

At 7 p.m. on July 30, Duterte lifted his July 25 order for a unilateral ceasefire when the NDF did not reciprocate it by 5 p.m.

Duterte gave the NDF 24 hours or up to 5 p.m. on July 30 to also declare its unilateral ceasefire following the ambush by the New Peoples Army (NPA) on July 27 that killed a Cafgu member and injured four others in Kapalong, Davao del Norte.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, Duterte specifically addressed the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front): “ let us end these decades of ambuscades and skirmishes. We are going nowhere. And it is getting bloodier by the day.”

He declared a unilateral ceasefire “to immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities and provide enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace talks” and called on the NDF and its forces “to respond accordingly.”

Filipinos killing Filipinos for nearly half a century of conflict is “always a despicable thought to me but I hope that we can proceed with the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said.

He also said he would spend “about 10 days after tomorrow” to firm up the framework on convergence of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF).

In a press conference after the mass oath-taking, Duterte said he would not comment on the claims by the NDF that they were going to declare their unilateral ceasefire at 8 p.m. last Saturday, or three hours after Duterte’s deadline.

“Hindi ko papatulan iyan eh. I am not an ideological poltergeist. I am the President talking properly to you to have peace in this land,” Duterte said, adding, “hindi naman ako insecure. Eh syempre, I got 16 million, a margin of (6) million plus. Eh sila hindi nga sila makahawak ng isang barangay” (they can’t even control one barangay), Duterte said.

But Duterte said he “cannot stop talking about peace.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)


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  1. PAGCOR should not be given regulatory jurisdiction over online/internet gaming/gambling

    And now, sinister forces are trying to remedy PAGCOR’s patent lack of authority to regulate online and internet gaming/gambling by urging President Rody to issue an executive order purporting to grant it this authority. We have very serious reservations about this: First, on the matter of existing online and internet gambling operations, PAGCOR has already demonstrated gross irresponsibility and incompetence in dispensing of an imagined, although invalid, authority by violating its clear mandate. For this, PAGCOR must be severely censured, and not rewarded with greater authority.

    Second, PAGCOR as an organization has been found to be wallowing in corruption. The President himself underscored this fact during the election campaign, and it is a widely known fact that PAGCOR is one of government’s most corrupt agencies, regularly figuring in corruption news through the years. As such, giving it this kind of authority, where the temptation for bribery and corruption is so high, is virtually throwing it to the dogs.

    Third, effecting the conveyance of this ‘authority to regulate’ through an executive issuance will smack of executive legislation and arrogates a power which rightfully reposes in the legislature alone. In fact, it is quite instructive that when the Philippine Congress amended PAGCOR’s charter on June 20, 2007 with the passage of Republic Act No. 9487, our lawmakers never included online and internet gaming/gambling within the ambit of its regulatory jurisdiction. And this is even when our lawmakers were well aware of the legal clarifications in the landmark SC decision in Jaworski vs PAGCOR & SAGE. We can perhaps surmise that Congress simply recognized the futility of giving this regulatory authority to PAGCOR, especially in its present corrupt state.

    We just truly hope that President Rody will not allow his administration to be duped into hastily deciding on such an important issue. We urge the President to order, instead, a thorough and exhaustive study of the matter of online/internet gaming and the present situation of PAGCOR, and to resolve all the issues and concerns before the issuance of a definitive policy.


    A research team from an anti-crime and corruption group recently made some investigations and found that the illegal gaming operations are two-fold in nature: First, there those operations conducted by illegal aliens without the cover of any authority or properly government issued license; and Second, there are other operations conducted by illegal aliens under “legal cover” of PAGCOR issued casino licenses.

    However, a review of the charter of CDC reveals that there is no legal authority vested upon it to issue casino or online gaming licenses. Moreover, CDC‘s own internal procedures show that a tenant cannot sub-lease any portion of the building to a third party tenant without the prior approval of CDC authorities.

    On the other hand, operations invoking PAGCOR-issued licenses must be able to show that a specific provision exists in the charter of PAGCOR to issue online gaming licenses. If no such specific authority is vested by law, then the operation plainly becomes illegal online gaming. And no approval, either as locator or as tenant or sub-lessee must be accorded by CDC.

    CDC is clearly remiss in this case. Since it is CDC that approves both locator and business applications, it is assumed that its procedures must adequately vet and screen applicants for requirements, eligibilities and qualifications. It is remiss both in the area of allowing illegal online gaming in its area of jurisdiction and also in allowing illegal aliens to stay and operate businesses – especially illegal ones – in its premises…


    These illegal gaming operations harm the nation in many different ways. For one, these are economic activities that are able to evade the collection of government duties, levies and taxes, which would normally be in the form of annual license fees and/or revenue sharing agreements. We may be losing tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions in lost revenues here.

    CDC cannot escape responsibility if it does not act decisively on the matter. We understand that some parties are now studying the possible filing of complaints with the Ombudsman if these glaring irregularities are not addressed soonest.

    It is actually not difficult to detect and collar these illegal online gaming operators. One needs only to conduct an audit of the telecommunications companies that operate within the CDC, or who are providing services to CDC locators with fiber optic, cable, copper or wireless data/internet services in order to ferret out more effectively these operators.

    One thing is definite: these illegal gambling activities must stop as their presence is really staining and stigmatizing the image of the Clark Freeport Zone as well as the reputation of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) itself.


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