Manifest the people’s indignation over Duterte’s unfulfilled peace vows

The Filipino people rebuke GRP President Rodrigo Duterte for his unfulfilled peace vows. They denounce his failure to release political prisoners, a promise he has made twice. They denounce, as well, his deployment of combat troops in rural communities despite having ordered a ceasefire, resulting in rampant military abuses against the peasant masses.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people to manifest their indignation over the Duterte regime’s failure to fulfill its peace vows. The Party calls for peace rallies nationwide on December 26 to demonstrate the Filipino people’s unity for a just and lasting peace to coincide with the celebration of the Party’s 48th anniversary.

A national assembly will be held in a guerrilla zone somewhere in Davao City. Simultaneous mass demonstrations will be held across the country inside and around guerrilla zones and revolutionary areas.

The Party urges all sectors of society desirous of a just and lasting peace to join and support these demonstrations. Organize peace marches and caravans to press the Duterte regime to fulfill its peace vows and comply with agreements, particularly, the demand to free all political prisoners and to terminate or suspend Oplan Bayanihan operations. Representatives of the Duterte regime are urged to attend these demonstrations in order to hear for themselves the people’s outcries for peace.

These demonstrations will also serve as an opportunity to consolidate the ranks of the Filipino people and rally them behind the call to wage struggles and resistance as means to attain their demands for a just and lasting peace.

Over the past few months, the Party, the NDFP and all revolutionary forces have repeatedly displayed patience in engaging the Duterte regime in peace negotiations, especially in the face of delays and unfulfilled promises and false statements, even amid treacherous armed and intelligence operations being conducted by the GRP’s armed forces.

In the spirit of building amity with the Duterte regime, the revolutionary forces have exercised flexibility amid the GRP’s failure to satisfy the original expectation of releasing 430 plus political detainees before October 26 through a presidential amnesty proclamation.

In the interest of preserving the reciprocal ceasefire declarations, the New People’s Army has bent over backwards and carried out evasion maneuvers in the face of treacherous AFP offensive and hostile operations and military abuses by Duterte’s armed troops within the sphere of NPA guerrilla zones and bases.

Duterte has capriciously changed his mind and has declared that no political prisoner will be released until a bilateral ceasefire agreement is signed. Displaying flexibility once more, the NDFP has offered to discuss and sign such a bilateral ceasefire agreement provided that it will take effect upon release of all political prisoners.

The NPA ceasefire has so far lasted 110 days. Historically, this is the longest yet, showing the extent of the revolutionary forces’ willingness to boost efforts to forge cooperative relations with Duterte who once declared himself a Leftist and socialist.

Indeed, besides the release of NDFP consultants and the very positive outcome of the first round of talks, the revolutionary forces were encouraged by his patriotic proclamations, particularly, the policy statements declaring an independent foreign policy and threats to end US military presence and joint military exercises and to abrogate the bases agreement (EDCA).

The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces, however, are also fully conscious of Duterte’s anti-people and undemocratic policies. The starkest among these is the growing number of extrajudicial killings instigated by Duterte and perpetrated by police forces and by an apparent network of death squads.

Besides ordering the AFP to continue with its Oplan Bayanihan operations in the countryside, he also ordered the military to give the erstwhile dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial in a display of utter contempt for the Filipino people who suffered gravely under martial law.

The people’s desire for change boosted by Duterte’s promises remain largely unsatisfied. He has also perpetuated the neoliberal economic policies (low wages and flexible employment, social cutbacks, privatization of public services and others) of the past regimes which has caused widespread misery to the Filipino people.

The revolutionary forces are also aware of Duterte’s steps back since November. He has reaffirmed “friendship and alliance” with the US and has agreed to let the US military conduct more than 257 military exercises in the Philippines by next year. Clearly, Duterte has chosen to tone down and backtrack his earlier anti-US rhetoric to secure the support of the US-beholden AFP.

In the face of Duterte’s unfulfilled peace vows, his closing ranks with the US and the AFP, and continuing military operations and war of suppression in the countryside, the unilateral ceasefire declaration issued by the CPP has become increasingly untenable to maintain.

The CPP has already clearly stated that an extension of its ceasefire declaration can only be secured if the Duterte regime fulfills its vows to release political prisoners and orders the withdrawal of its troops from the guerrilla zones and bases.

At the same time, the CPP supports efforts of the NDFP Negotiating Panel to forge a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the GRP with clear provisions protecting civilian communities from so-called civil-military operations which shall take effect upon the promised release of all political prisoners.

The revolutionary forces can further go the extra mile and await the realization of such steps until the third round of peace talks on January.

Source: Communist Party of the Philippines