MANILA – The government has not terminated its peace negotiation process with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Instead, it shifted to the more effective local peace engagement.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) Undersecretary Wilben Mayor said the push for a localized peace engagement (LPE), through a whole-of-nation approach, has been efficient in resolving the long-standing armed revolution pushed by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) and their allies.
In the Monday episode of "Debunking Lies by Telling The Truth" of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) streamed live on Facebook, Mayor said the government will honor all signed peace agreements and contribute to the overall socio-economic development, social healing, reconciliation, and unity of all conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities.
He emphasized the new approach is way better than the previous framework of peace talks, wherein negotiations between high-ranking communist leaders and the government officials were held outside the country.
"It is important to note that the government did not terminate the peace process. It only shifted its approach to a local peace engagement," Mayor said.
Mayor noted that LPE involving local stakeholders who have witnessed armed conflicts firsthand result in the surrender of members of CTG-linked underground mass organizations.
"OPAPRU believes that LPE is the most effective way of talking peace. Through this approach, local government units and members of the community can directly address the roots of the insurgency thus preventing the communities from being exploited by the insurgents," he said.
Mayor said LPE likewise strengthened the relationship between the national government and local government units (LGUs).
An example is the rise of the Indigenous Peoples peace village in Talaingod, Davao del Norte for 125 Ata-Manobo families who were displaced by NPA-initiated hostilities.
"It is just one of the manifestations why LPE is more effective in achieving peace and social justice and development. It is worth noting that during the time when peace talks were done at the national level, the CTGs did not cease in carrying out attacks against the government which proves their insincerity in coming up with the peace deal," Mayor said.
"This precedence justifies our resolve to take the negotiations at the local level to include more sectors such as the rebels themselves," he added.
Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., earlier said the LPE is the most effective way to address insurgency problems and armed revolution.
He said it has helped LGUs and affected communities to directly "address the roots of insurgency".
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)