DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) urged the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) to carry out more tactical offensives across the Philippines three days before the start of the fifth round of talks between the government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on May 27 in the Netherlands, following President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law effective May 23.
But GRP panel chief negotiator Silvestre Bello said in a statement Thursday they were disturbed by the CPP’s pronouncement that was based on “a false reading of the intents of President Duterte in placing Mindanao under Martial Law.”
The labor official asked the CPP to recall its order.
In a statement published on philippinerevolution.info Wednesday, the CPP said the “necessity of waging a revolutionary armed struggle becomes ever clearer” after Duterte’s declaration of martial law, based on what they described as “narrow pretext of armed clashes in Marawi” between government forces and the Maute Group.
The communists claimed the Maute Group has links to military officials.
“In the face of the Duterte regime’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, the necessity of waging revolutionary armed struggle becomes ever clearer. Thus, the New People’s Army (NPA) must be ready to accelerate the recruitment of new Red fighters as Duterte’s martial law convinces more and more people to take up arms against the rotten system,” the statement read.
Bello called the CPP’s action an insult to the genuineness of the President and GRP panel in talking for peace and hit the CPP for the absence of sincerity in the negotiation, as he urged the communists to recall “its senseless order”.
“At the very least, it was an insult to the candor and genuineness displayed by the President and the GRP Panel in talking peace. At worse, it betrays the absence of sincerity of the CPP in the negotiating table. Lest it be construed as abetting the criminal and terror acts of the Maute Group and a gang of Moro bandits, we put the CPP to task to correct its error and recall its senseless order,” he said.
The CPP also urged the Filipino people to oppose placing Mindanao under military rule and demand for its immediate lifting on account of human rights abuses committed against the civilians during the nine-year military rule, from 1972 to 1981, under the term of late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.
It said waging a revolutionary armed resistance is the most effective way of resisting martial law in order to defend the people’s democratic rights and inspire them to wage ever greater struggles.
“They must unite all forces to oppose military rule in Mindanao and resist plans to impose all-out authoritarian rule in the country. They must carry out and intensify protest mass actions nationwide, banner the demand to end martial law, assert civilian rule and respect for civil and political rights as well highlight the basic demands of the workers and peasants and other democratic sectors,” he said.
The CPP said it is wary the martial law will turn Marawi City into a wasteland “in the same way that parts of Zamboanga City was razed to the ground in 2013 by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with aerial bombardments and heavy gunfire.”
It said the imposition of martial law and the worsening human rights abuses will be taken up in the fifth round of talks between GRP and NDFP on May 27 as violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
Bello will leave Friday for The Netherlands for the fifth round of talks.
“The circumstances that precipitated, and the condition that warranted such declaration, were matters of public knowledge. There was a need to restore law and order, protect the lives of the citizens and preserve private and state properties,” he said.
Bello explained Duterte is not after the communist rebels and maintained he is keen on pursuing peace.
“We therefore find the CPP directive to the NPA to intensify attacks as totally misplaced borne out of a grossly distorted appreciation of the President’s intention,” he said.
Bello said the GRP panel nonetheless reaffirmed its commitment and remain confident in winning the quest for lasting peace.
The CPP said they are wary of the possible curtailment of the civil-democratic rights of the people across Mindanao when they are subjected to checkpoints, warrantless arrests, and curfew.
It said “Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao has gone beyond Marawi. It has a much wider target and purpose.”
The Party also hit Duterte for saying that he will be as harsh as Marcos in dealing with terrorism.
In his arrival message from Russia Wednesday, Duterte said: “I am appealing to the humanity of everybody, especially those who saw terror, do not allow the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to come in. I warn you again, do not do it because, as I have said, my response would be harsh. I will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation.”
The Party said that martial law can worsen “extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture, indiscriminate firing, military occupation of communities, forcible evacuation and hamletting of communities, aerial bombings and a myriad forms of military abuses.”
The CPP added that Duterte “aims to employ his dominant majority control of congress to get support for his martial law declaration and give him the authority to extend it to a full 60 days or more. With Marcos-like authoritarian powers, he can push for the implementation of large infrastructure projects beyond public scrutiny.”
“If Duterte succeeds in securing congressional support for martial law in Mindanao, he will surely be emboldened to impose martial law on the entire country. He can easily come up with more pretexts such as ‘fighting criminality’ and so on,” it said.
Under Martial law, Duterte said the writ of habeas corpus has also been suspended, allowing for a warrantless arrest of individuals accused of instigating rebellion and terrorism and implement a curfew in some provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
But the President assured he will not tolerate human rights abuses.
“For law abiding citizens, we are the least of your worry,” he said.
“Human rights is different. It is an institutional theory which we will preserve and observe. As I said, I will not allow abuses, the courts are open, but anyone now, holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one. Let us solve the problem of Mindanao once and for all,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)