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Peace not by arms but by negotiations

Peace talks against the Maoist group is about to be resumed. It was a welcome move by Malacanang. Leaders should not be tired in calling for peace and people should not be tired in praying for it. Peace is among the major agenda of DU30 when he campaigned in 2016 and won the presidency by the biggest margin in Philippine history. It is his solemn duty to fulfill this promise. Mali si DU30 kapag hindi niya ito tinupad. Ano siya politiko, nagpapako ng pangako?

With the present status of the 2016 peace promise of President Duterte, a venerable statement of Pope Francis resurface relevant to the on and off peace talks. “Armed conflicts are always a deliberate negation of harmony and create profound divisions and deep wounds which require many years to heal. Wars are concrete refusal to pursue the great economic and social goals that the international community has set itself, as seen, for example, in the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, the many armed conflicts which continue to afflict the world today present us daily with dramatic images of misery, hunger, illness and death. Without peace, there can be no form of economic development. Violence never begets peace, the necessary condition for development,” he said.

The content of the statement is every inch Filipino. Sounds parochial in nature but global in content. Or the other way around. Global in nature but parochial. Whichever, your wheelchair observer favor the latest call for peace by Malacanang.

It was exactly four months since DU30 called off talks and vowed to crush the insurgents by force. But now, he once again urges his cabinet to draw the line on a ceasefire with the Maoist group. “Resume the peace talks,” he said.

During the campaign period, people suddenly hoped about the hopeless. People believed on the unbelievable. That DU30 can end the more than 50-year NPA rebellion that killed around 50,000 people in the last 50 decades of fighting! Duterte himself surrendered many times. Peace with the rebels is not attainable. But as a leader, it is his prime responsibility to attain what is unattainable.

The presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza, Jr. echoed, “Let’s give peace talk with the communist rebels another last chance.”

In the words of the Pope, “Leaders of the world should not be tired in working for peace.” DU30 is among those leaders who should never be tired in working for peace.

Since DU30s assumption in office, the government and the communists’ political party, the National Democratic Front, was in on-again, off-again negotiations. Several countries have brokered in some peace negotiations. But while the agenda on peace is on the negotiating table, bloody attacks from both sides was ongoing. Thus the president cancelled the talk and order the military to crush all forms of rebellion by confronting them by arms. The rebel group ordered the same.

The leader of the communist movement, Jose Maria Sison, in exile in the Netherlands welcomed DU30s new order. “We are open and ready to resume peace negotiations and hope for steady and significant advances on the road of peace”.

But Joma’s words have been put in to test. It was experienced many times that while the NDF was on the other side of the table, his men in the ground made many bloody attack-defenses that killed civilians and military men. Some corners concluded that Joma has no longer have the control like in the early years of the communist movement. Thus, the idea of directly connecting with the leaders here without Joma became a major talking point.

Working for peace should never be stopped. Recently, one of the best edition of Kapihan sa Maynila by the Samahang Plaridel was focused about peace. It was titled “Peace Movement not by Force but by Art”. DU30 lauded it by issuing a message supporting the initiative to use art as a powerful medium for peace.

The world is confronted by global disasters and calamities. Natural and man-made calamities. Armed conflict of mass destruction is among the top. Conflict will not be resolved by head-on collisions.

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