HOPEFULLY, it will be for real this time around and done in earnest.
We’re referring to the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) which is now being considered again for the nth time in hopes of ending the decades-old insurgency.
The government panel headed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and the NDF have reportedly started the discussions on the possible implementation of a coordinated unilateral ceasefire (CUC).
CPP founding chairman and NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison had earlier said that the government and the communists should avoid preconditions for the resumption of the negotiations.
The government, however, is well within its right to set conditions for the talks to be resumed. Among these are: 1. signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement; 2. no coalition government with the Reds; 3. no attacks on government forces and civilians; 4. no extortion; 5. no destruction of properties; 6. no expansion and recruitment; and 7. no roaming around with firearms.
These conditions are valid and reasonable and are easy for NDF and the NPA to comply with, not unless they don’t want peace at all.
Needless to say, the communist side should show sincerity if the talks are to move forward.
It looks like the peace process, which was terminated by President Duterte in November last year owing to the lack of sincerity on the part of the rebels, is gaining ground this time, after a total of 34 NPA rebels surrendered to authorities in North Cotabato and another NDF officer in Abra also gave himself up to the military in Abra.
For giving peace another chance, the Duterte administration is on the right track in making the Philippines safe for everyone, including investors.