Doors to peace still wide open — Dureza

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Doors to peace still wide open � Dureza
Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is always ready to do its mandated duty.
Geremy Pintolo / File

MANILA, Philippines — The doors to peace with communist rebels are still wide open, presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said on Sunday.

“I was present when President Duterte said last night in an event in Davao City that if he would be removed soon from office as allegedly announced by the enemies of the state, then they would have nobody to talk (to). Hence there would be no more talks… He was obviously making an assumption,” Dureza said.

The Duterte government has not yet closed the doors to peace, according to Dureza.

“Hence, efforts to pursue peace through negotiations are still possible. As I said, the doors are still wide open for both sides to work on,” he said.

Dureza said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is always ready to do its mandated duty.

“When that precise time comes, we at OPAPP will again seek the President’s guidance as we proceed to do our mandated task to bring just and sustainable peace in the land – a dream of every Filipino, and that of President Duterte,” Dureza said.

As this developed, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it does not want to share power with Duterte.

In a statement titled “To Duterte” and posted late night Sunday on its website, the CPP predicted that Duterte will fail in his ill-motivated aim at ending the people’s armed struggle.

The CPP also said Duterte will suffer the same fate as his idol, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“You think you can get away with your crimes and abuses. The Filipino people will not allow it. Your dream of silencing the people will fail. Your schemes of a dictatorship will fail. You wish to end the people’s armed resistance. You will definitely fail. Like your idol Marcos, you will end up right on top of the trash heap of history,” the CPP said.

The CPP said Duterte is not sincere in his claim that he wants peace.

“You declaim, ‘Let us go to war!’ like a drug-crazed war freak. As if you gave peace a chance. Over the past two years, despite your peace prattle, not once did you silence the guns of war,” the CPP said.

“Peaceful rural barangays are no more with battalions of soldiers occupying their villages. People are gravely suffering under your total war, spuriously named Oplan Kapayapaan. You ignore their pleas. You drown their cries by raining bombs over their homes and fields. You drive them away from their lands which you and your minions covet,” it added.

Duterte, according to the organization, has repeatedly stopped the peace talks.

“You have repeatedly tripped the peace talks just as these were making headway. You come up with one unacceptable condition after another. Now, you repeat ad nauseam the lie that the (National Democratic Front) wants to share power with you. (They do not.) Or that the (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) has been at the losing end of all past agreements. You plan to throw 25 years of hard work down the drain. Clearly you do not want peace,” the CPP said.

For the group, Duterte’s only intention is to make them bow and surrender.

“Clearly, you do not want peace. At least, not one that fixes the people’s problems which rouse them to rise up in arms – landlessness, unemployment, very low wages, rising prices, burdensome taxes, corruption and bureaucrats like you making money. What you want is for the revolutionary forces to surrender and bow before you. Indeed you are drunk with power,” the CPP said.

In the event that peace talks with the CPP do not push through, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will push for localized peace talks between local government units (LGUs) and ground units of the NDF -New People’s Army (NPA). DILG officer-in-charge Secretary Eduardo Año said this approach pronounced by Malacañang and backed by the Department of National Defense would make the peace process more participatory and responsive to the specific needs and situation of local communities and will have more impact on people on the ground.

“In light of the Left’s pronouncement that they would rather oust the President than talk peace, we have no choice but to push for localized peace talks because decisions and agreements will be more genuine and enforceable,” Año said. – With Artemio Dumlao, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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