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60 solons urge resumption of peace talks with Reds

Nearly 60 congressmen from various factions and political parties or about a fifth of the 292-strong House of Representatives have signed House Resolution No. 1803 are asking President Duterte to resume the stalled peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front.

One of the vocal supporters of the peace talks, Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate, expressed optimism that the stalled peace negotiations between the government and the Reds would jumpstart anew.

“This is very encouraging and we are calling on the Duterte administration to heed this call for a just peace. We are also urging our other colleagues to also co-author the resolution as there is a more urgent need and reason now to continue the GRP-NDFP peace process in the midst of escalating clashes between the military and the communist rebels,” said Zarate, a member of the Leftist Makabayan bloc.

Signatories of the resolution included solons from the super majority, the minority, and the two independent blocs from House – the “Magnificent Seven” and Makabayan.

The NDF is the negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has engaged the national government in a decades-long, bloody insurgency.

There were renewed hopes for peace upon the start of the Duterte administration in June 2016 with the populist Chief Executive’s good ties with the Left, particularly Joma Sison, CPP founder and Duterte’s former professor.

Duterte’s patience has been tested by the at-times difficult negotiations and as a result suspended the peace talks.

“Peace negotiations should continue even if both sides have not yet ceased armed hostilities. That is precisely why peace talks must proceed because the two sides are at war. The no ceasefire, no peace talks policy being pushed by the militarists elements in the Cabinet practically negates the inherent purpose of a peace negotiation,” said Zarate. (Ellson A. Quismorio)