CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 16 October) –For Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo, the only road to peace with the communist rebels is to resume negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) which represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) in the peace talks.
“Tingin ko kailangan may localized na pag-uusap. Mas ma-attain ang kapayapaan kung ang pinaka root ng problema ma address” (There is a need for localized talks. We can achieve peace if we address the roots of the problem), Robredo told reporters here.
Robredo said peace talks will always be a part of her “road to peace” program in her administration if she will be elected President.
But no details were made available as to what Robredo meant by “localized na pag-uusap.” But she stressed the talks should address the root problems of poverty and inequality.
The Vice President arrived here Saturday morning to spearhead her “Vaccine Express” program at the PHINMA-Cagayan de Oro College in Barangay Carmen.
Bishop Felixberto Calang, co-convenor of the independent peace observer Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform reminded Robredo that the idea of holding “a localized peace talk” had earlier been proposed by government but rejected by the NDF.
Calang said presidential daughter and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte also proposed localized peace talks with the reds in 2017.
He said the communist rebels through the NDF, rejected the idea.
“For a peace agreement to proceed, both parties should come to an agreement,” the bishop said.
Calang said the NDF would insist that the talks would resume from where it left off .
The Duterte administration cancelled the November 25 to 27, 2017 peace talks between government and the NDF through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 360 for alleged “lack of sincerity,” following an NPA ambush on November 9, 2017 that killed a four-month old Walysha Manchorao, and similar incidents.
In early December that same year, Duterte signed Proclamation 374, designating the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.
“The challenge of the new administration is how to resume the stalled peace talks,” Calang said.
Norway was the third party facilitator of the peace talks. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)