A very short ceasefire

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

For our special presentation on our talkshow in Straight from the Sky, we bring you a discussion on the recently held 4th Farm Tourism Conference that I attended two weeks ago in Tagaytay City, which was held at the Summit Ridge Hotel where more than 500 delegates joined this conference. There was also a Farm Tourism Market Festival and by the weekend we were treated to visits in farms for a first-hand-look on Farms that opened up for Tourism. 

As I already wrote before, I became curious about Farm Tourism when I saw the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” by Superstar Julia Roberts where most of the scenes were shot in Bali, Indonesia in the middle of a farm. That movie gave me an idea of what Farm Tourism is. First thing I learned about Farm Tourism is the enactment of Republic Act. No. 10816 known as “An Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of Farm Tourism in the Philippines” which was authored by Rep. Cynthia Villar and passed a year ago. This law allows for the creation of the Farm Development Board (FDB) that would promote a sustainable farming technique in order to unlock new opportunities for Regional Development where Tourism is unheard of.

Tonight we have with us a young man, Mr. Jim Leandro F. Cano, country representative of Ypard Philippines who also attended the 4th Farm Tourism Conference and vowed to engage the youth to join the Farm Tourism revolution because there is money in agribusiness. So watch this show on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8:00PM tonight with replays on Wednesday and Saturday. We also have replays on MyTV channel 30 at 9:00PM tonight and at 7:00AM and 9:00PM respectively on Wednesday and Friday.

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In a surprise of surprises, last Saturday evening, ANC came up with breaking news that President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, who during his 1st State of the Nation Address (SONA), declared a unilateral ceasefire against the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, and the New People’s Army, withdrew this ceasefire order saying, “Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering for the immediate lifting of the unilateral ceasefire that I ordered last July 25 against the communist rebels.”

What happened here? Instead of immediately responding to the ceasefire call of President Duterte, last Wednesday, the NPA rebels ambushed a government militia, killing one soldier and wounding four others.

Because of that incident in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Duterte asked the CPP-NDF-NPA to explain why this ambush happened just after the Duterte administration already declared a unilateral ceasefire. He mistakenly thought that his friends in the CPP-NDF-NPA would have responded with a ceasefire of their own. But their responses were this ambuscade. Yet he gave the communist rebels up to 5:00PM Saturday to explain their side. But apparently the deadline passed without anyone giving the President any explanation. Instead, the Communist rebels pinned the blame on the Armed Forces of the Philippines for violating the ceasefire.

Let me point out that Duterte issued that unilateral ceasefire against the communists even if they did not yet surrender their arms. It was what you would call a peace offering without any conditions which CPP Chairman Jose Maria Sison should have responded with their own ceasefire. But instead, the blame was pinned against the military. So five days after the unilateral ceasefire declaration, Duterte withdrew this order and ordered the troops to stay alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and

I’m sure it includes fighting the communist rebels.

Just when we thought that the jungles of this country would finally be silenced, we were mistaken. The road to peace will not be an easy one, but a difficult one. However with this development, the ball is now in the hands of Joma Sison to respond with a real ceasefire order coming from his group so that the Duterte administration can study their respond and if it truly are serious about giving peace to this troubled nation.

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On the political front, the issue of our shift from our present unitary form of governance and into a Parliamentary-Federal system is now open for debate in the Halls of Congress and the first issue being discussed is whether to hold a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) or a Constituent Assembly (ConAss). On this issue alone, sparks are already flying in the Halls of Congress. One side says that a ConCon will cost too much money and too much time, while a ConAss cost much less and can be done very quickly. But wait, we are talking about a huge dramatic, albeit monumental shift from a unitary form of governance and into a parliamentary-federal form. So let the debates begin.

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