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Commentary
November 7, 2017

AN APPEAL FOR PEACE

During the arrival speech of President Rodrigo Duterte given last October 31 in the evening, he appealed to the New People’s Army (NPA) for reconciliation and peace.

Sa arrival speech ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte noong Martes (Oct 31) ng gabi, siya’y umapila sa New People’s Army (NPA) na tahakin na ang landas tungo sa kapayapaan. “I am addressing myself to all the soldiers of the New People’s Army: Mag-surrender na lang kayo ngayon at ibaba ninyo ang inyong baril. May trabahong naghihintay sa inyo,” he said. “This is not an honorarium thing. You have to work for it,” he stressed that his goal is to work for peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), “there is still hope for the peace talks to proceed with the communist rebels.”

Secretary Jesus “Jess” Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, states that along with the big projects the president has in line for the country, this can only be achieved with lasting peace and order. That’s why this peace work is as important as its infrastructure projects. One of the requirements is to get a a bilateral ceasefire with the CPP, NPA, NDF, so we can move forward. We are optimistic with the BANGSAMORO because there has been positive developments already in that front. People have to feel the dividends of peace in order for them to see how much their life can improve.


There are 3 kinds of ceasefire. The first is the unilateral ceasefire where both parties declares it and restrains their own forces from taking military operations. The problem with this is that both parties can call it off at any given time and this is what happened last February. The second kind is called a bilateral ceasefire wherein both parties sign an agreement with guidelines as to the kind of violations and how to resolve these violations. There’s a system in addressing offensive operations, penalties and who ‘judges’ and monitors these situations. The third ceasefire is called an interim ceasefire wherein we have reached the final agreement.

The ideal ceasefire is the bilateral ceasefire. That’s how we handled the BANGSAMORO and it was successful. One of the conditions of the bilateral ceasefire is for the rebels to give up the revolutionary tax. Some of the issues are still on the table, being discussed. In fact there are some issues that can’t be discussed publicly because it is still under negotiation and will continue until there is a mutually agreed common ground.

The problem with dealing with the NPA is that they have their own rules and agenda. With regards to the Abu Sayyaf Group, there are many factions of that group and we’re not dealing with a unified band of people. The military is dealing with them.

The difference between the Arroyo administration and Duterte administration is that this president is hands-on. He guides us in each step of the way, specially before signing the agreements. It isn’t easy. Peace is a work of a lifetime in fact. Peace building is in different levels. It is important for people in the community to understand their differences and accept that they’re different. We must provide social cohesion amongst the people there on the ground. You see, no matter what peace agreement is signed, if the people on the ground won’t accept it or see that they won’t benefit from this, nothing will happen. That’s why peace building is done on different levels.


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