Peace talks with no peace » Manila Bulletin News



Erik Espina

By Erik Espina


“When the obstacle is removed and our political aim attained, the war will stop. Nevertheless, if the obstacle is not completely swept away, the war will have to continue until the aim is fully accomplished.” — Mao Zedong on “Protracted War.”

The template remains to this day as the backbone of the longest Communist insurgency in the world. Ideologues in their hardened state and advanced ages, remain sclerotic in revising the very concept of their struggle – bloody revolution. It would be a truism to conclude, after decades of peace negotiations, that every sound approach, formula, concession, etc., short of a “coalition government,” has been explored or granted by previous presidents to accommodate the CPP-NPA-NDF in achieving a permanent peace.  Due to their consistent predatory cunning, surviving by their wits, ideology is central as applied to every ebb and flow of attendant political realities. Their strategy unchanged, “Talk-talk,  war-war.” Next to the establishment of a National Democratic Front, endemic with every Communist struggle, they metamorphosed into Congress unchallenged, increasing their web of political, economic, and social influence, plus funding.

“Every Communist must grasp the truth — political power grows out of the barrel of the gun.” Mao’s local acolytes remain purveyors of this narrowed thinking. Hence, our realization must be commensurate to the response. Meaning – strict enforcement of the law and respect for the Constitution. A distillation of Presidents Ramon Magsaysay, Ferdinand Marcos, and Joseph Erap Estrada on various approaches to effectively dilute these trouble-makers, will put the problem in proper perspective. A point of clarity when political will crosses the “Rubicon” of decision.

We cannot reform the local Communist movement as in European models. This is illusory. President Rodrigo Duterte has granted group the widest democratic latitude (plus the appointments) vis-a-vis other presidents. His proclamation of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization defines the parameters of how peace must be waged.

There is no painless solution. While identifying a “chief terrorist” is required to expedite international action, we must employ libertarian values, mustering all state forces to defend and protect the republic.

Terminating the peace talks at the national level  is a sober appraisal. While a new anti-terrorism/extremism law (mere membership) is warranted in this day and age.

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