Honeymoon is over
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - February 10, 2017 - 12:00am

It seems that the honeymoon is over. Aside from ending the government's ceasefire with the NPA, President Duterte has ordered the AFP to go after the rebels with everything they've got. He also plans to declare the CPP-NDFP-NPA a terrorist group, something the US has maintained all along. Duterte has also lamented that peace may not be attained in this generation. He has also ordered those given temporary freedom to be able to act as consultants in the peace process to return to prison, or be considered fugitives from the law. The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees  has also been terminated. One after another, the president has taken away whatever the communists were given at the start of his presidency.

The death of soldiers who were apparently ambushed by the NPA even when a ceasefire was still in effect was just too much for Duterte. They were not supposed to be killed when peace talks were in progress. The reason that the military were entering NPA-held territories that led to the attacks is unacceptable. By what right do NPA rebels claim territory as their own, separate from that of the rest of the Philippines? The military has every right, the obligation in fact, to protect the country and its citizens from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The president could no longer give whatever the NDFP was asking, particularly the release of four hundred political detainees, many guilty of crimes against the state. Calling them "spoiled brats", the conditions set by the communists as a requisite to a formal peace plan was a case of the "straw that broke the camel's back."

If an all-out war against the NPA is forthcoming, what happens to those from the Left who were given positions in Duterte's cabinet? Will their ideology still sit well with the president, after everything he has said about them? Do they still have a place in his administration? The three officials have already stated that they would not resign, but instead would strive for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the NDFP. Duterte has made no statement regarding the three officials - Sec. Judy Taguiwalo of the DepEd, Sec. Liza Maza of the National Anti-Poverty Commission and Sec. Rafael Mariano of the Agrarian Reform Department, despite calls from Sen. Trillanes for them to be kicked out of government. It would indeed be awkward if the resumption of hostilities between the government and the NPA would be brought up in Cabinet meetings, especially if there are casualties on both sides.

The biggest losers would again be the innocent civilians caught between warring forces. We can only hope that with Duterte's all-out war order against the NPA, civilians would be spared the horrors of war. If peace is no longer attainable in this generation, then perhaps victory against the longest-running rebellion in Asia can be attained.

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