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Ending CPP-NPA-NDF Peace Talks
Terrorism is the methodical use of violence to craft a wide-ranging disposition of fear in a population and thereby bring about a precise political objective (Shola 2015). Terrorism has been practiced by political groups of either rightist or leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious sects, by revolutionaries, and equally by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police (Boudreault 2013). Terrorism is frequently intended, either unswervingly or otherwise at Governments, in an effort to influence policy or topple an existing regime (Ododa 1985). Terrorism is executed by psychological warfare, guerrilla warfare, hijackings and hostage takings (Jenkins 2018).
Because CPP.NPA1.NDF2 seeks to overthrow the Philippine Government, by definition per se it is suitably characterised, if not correctly identified by way of its operative tactics, as a terrorist group—nothing less.
The natal of CPP-NPA-NDF proved well to its political bent as far as the 1986 People Power Revolution. People Power backed by the strength of the Army and symbolism of the Church to push social change and economic development.
Beforehand the Philippines governed by the far right authoritarian Ferdinand Marcos of colonial mentality amongst crony elites, seems quite justifiable for the warring for national freedom and democratic people’s rights by CPP-NPA-NDF.
Democracy would literally imply ‘rule by the people’ (Institute for Economics and Peace 2015). The term is derived from the Greek dēmokratiā, which was coined from dēmos meaning ‘people’, and kratos meaning ‘rule’ to denote the political systems then existing in the Greek city-state of Athens in 5th century bce (Dahl 2019).
The expression democratic deficit may be used to denote the absence or underdevelopment of key democratic institutions (Acemoglu 2012), but it may also be used to describe the various ways in which these institutions may fail to function properly such as lack of transparency and accountability, technocratic decision making or inadequate participation of citizens in policy making (Ackerman 2004).
Democratic deficit is insufficient levels of democracy in political institutions and procedures in comparison with a theoretical ideal of a democratic Government—symptomatically apt the Philippine Government.
Evaluations of the level of democratic deficit focus on the procedural aspects of democracy, reflected in the mechanisms of representation and decision making (Bacevich 2009). Therefore, the notion of democratic deficit encompasses distortions in the flow of influence from citizens to Government (Amar 1998).
As such, it is closely associated with the issue of democratic legitimacy. After over 40 years of conflict and seven Head of State seated, with as many as 40,000 combat related deaths reported since insurgency of 1969—it is sufficient to state that CPP.NPA.NDF whose idealism of democracy is the rudimentary distortion that places the country democratic deficit. Whatever else it is an upkeep of battles of a lost war.
Liberty is defined as a state of freedom, expressly in contrast political subjection, imprisonment, or slavery. Its two typically accepted divisions are political and civil liberty (McLean 2009). Civil liberty is the absence of arbitrary restraint and the assurance of a body of rights, such as those found in bills of rights and in judicial decisions (Kelley 1984).
Notwithstanding liberty is not inconsistent with regulations or restrictions imposed by law for the common good; and has been increasingly interpret in terms of economic opportunity and security (Beedham 1996).
By so, the CPP-NPA-NDF discourses an absolute burden of social development by the fact CPP.NPA.NDF extorts from businesses within operating spheres, which is inconsistent with regulations and restrictions imposed by law.
At the same time across Asia, several transformations of decolonisation and political transition recorded significant successes since 1969. It so happens that independence won of so many new countries after WWII, some of which occupied strategic locations, others of which possessed significant natural resources, and most of which were desperately poor—altered the composition and political complexity of every region of the world (MacMillan 1960).
The Philippines outright independence from colonial rulers with no process of decolonisation had the country, over the long term, fall behind development in the real sense of it (Buendia 1993). A weedy ideological base of national identity and influence on social well-being put in action (Scott 2019).
CPP.NPA.NDF whose idealism of democracy opposes ‘American imperialism’, evidences such ideological precept has gone warped. A contradiction in itself to idolise freedom yet distort the nuances of a nation conceived in liberty.
Unless we fool ourselves into practices of failed a nation because democracy in its authentic precept has not yet failed but has proliferated across regions in the mechanism of free enterprise; which brings about the urgency for robust economic reform which is a valid cry of these insurgents—definitely not democracy.
There was once a time when the CPP.NPA.NDF withstood an extraordinary noble cause. A classic illustration would be ka-Chadly whose devastating ambush stays instrumental to the unification of the Cordillera Region. As yet rather unfortunate we of the tribes can barely work together away the victory of WWII, even simply for the sake of ratification of Autonomy or transition to Federal states. With Marcos long gone there ought to be reason enough worth an arms struggle.
Sincerity is a gift of talent that recognises no constraint.
Peace is defined as ‘freedom from disturbance.’ The vision of the Peace Talks is to expand the space for dialogue about building peace and resolving conflict. A peace treaty promised to establish normal diplomatic relations between interest groups. In this dimension, the lack of sincerity by the CPP.NPA.NDF comes with the audacity of incessant ambushes over the course of ceasefire3. If any of its intentions were real, CPP.NPA.NDF could have easily toppled Government long since.
Granting democracy might not be the resolution for the Philippines, especially that I am no fan of democracy; lessons from transitions in former communist states conclude that political alternation, regardless of ideology, diminishes influence.
Ideology in its broadest sense is largely the enemy of reason. This includes not simply political and economic ideology, but also religious, social, and historical.
Sometimes brutally, but there ought to be no coup. It is shameful to unseat or take over a Government decided upon by the people. His Excellency must make no apology for the upshot nevertheless peace should prevail.
Appendices: Historic overview
Since the Communist Party of the Philippines was formed in 1968, seven presidents have been seated. Peace talks between Government and the militant groups were initiated in the time of Corazon Aquino in 1986. The release of political prisoners together with Sison and Buscayno is permitted (Rosca 2004).
In 1992 Head of State Fidel Ramos declares a policy of amnesty and reconciliation with peace talks resumed (Abinales 1992). In September 1992, the Hague Joint Declaration was forged for the holding of formal negotiations to attain just and lasting peace; which was followed by the1994 Breukelen Joint Statement for agreement of safety and immunity guarantees for individuals joining the peace talks; and the 1995 JASIG for NDF collaboration (Datinguinoo 2015). In March1998, the Comprehensive Agreement to Respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, or CARHRIHL for corresponding peace panel is signed (Guillermo 2012).
In 1998 Head of State Joseph Estrada formally approved the implementation of CARHRIHL which was suspended in 1999 following the abduction of four military officers in three separate incidents in Mindanao and Bicol (Political Economy Research Institute 2015). These officers were released two months later. In the same year, NDF assertion of Government’s de facto termination of the peace talks, two days after Senate ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement with the American Government. Come May 1999, Government formally lifted peace talks and terminates the JASIG (Guerrero 1984).
In March 2001 Head of State Gloria Arroyo held informal talks for the resumption of formal negotiations, and JASIG is reinstated. Peace talks are carried out in Norway and the Oslo Joint Communiqué is forged (Domingo 2013). The agreement accelerates the release of prisoners and detainees and repeals repressive decrees that ought to re-establish displaced communities to their land (The New York Times 2015). Nonetheless the second round of peace talks is pre-empted when Rodolfo Aguinaldo is assassinated by suspected NPA militants, but back-channel talks are conducted between parties throughout 2002. In the same year, the American Government lists CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization (Abinales 2003).
In January 2003 Government submits the draft of a final peace accord, which the NDF rejects. In February 2004, the first round of formal peace negotiations takes place in Oslo and the Joint Monitoring Committee of the CARHRIHL is finally formed but the Arroyo Administration is labelled as the ‘lame duck’ (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism 2015).
In February 2011 Head of State Benigno Aquino resumes formal talks which conclude in April 2013 and a holiday ceasefire between December 2012 and January 2013 (Fonbuena 2015). In February 2013 NDF demands Government to comply with the return to barracks of military and police forces from Oplan Bayanihan and the issue of release of prisoners (Santos 2014).
In July 2016 Head of State Rofrigo Duterte approves a six-point peace and development agenda and declares a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Socioeconomic Report 2017 2017). By end of month, the ceasefire is lifted because the militant groups fail to impose a reciprocal ceasefire and militiamen are ambushed in Davao del Norte (Colina 2016).
August of the same year, Government reciprocates the CPP-NPA seven-day unilateral ceasefire of its own and 22 DNF consultant prisoners are released. Head of State Duterte conducts two rounds of peace talks with the NDF in Oslo. Discussions focus on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, or CASER, for poverty reduction and social equity, affordable access to services and utilities, and fiscal policy towards development (NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee 2017). In December, Head of State Duterte refused to release 130 political prisoners until the NDF signs a bilateral ceasefire agreement (Placido 2016).
In January 2017 peace talks in Rome continue unilateral ceasefires with NDF demands for the release of political prisoners within 60 days (Santos 2017). Over the next month, NPA clashed the military with casualties on the side of Government even before ceasefire is lifted; and peace talks are concluded in 2017 (Talabong 2018). In the same month Tiamzons and other NDF consultants are arrested and Government cancels JASIG, followed by an 'all-out war” against the New People's Army (Requejo 2017).
But then again JASIG gets restored in April of the same year with a fourth round of talks conducted in Amsterdam. Discussions emphasise landless and poor farmers, farm workers, and fisher folk, with just compensation to owners; resources for land acquisition and support services from the recovery of the Marcos hidden wealth (Santos 2017).
In May 2017 a fifth round of peace talks is suspended following the NPA intensifies attacks with Mindanao under martial law due to the conflict in Marawi City (Amnesty International 2017). Government cancels backchannel talks the following month after a rebel attack on attack on a Presidential Security Group convoy in Arakan, Cotabato (Tan 2017). In November 2017, the Palace Proclamation No. 360 cancels the peace talks, and Head of State Duterte is labelled as the 'crazed tyrant'. By end of year, Head of State Duterte signs a proclamation formally designating the CPP-NPA a terrorist group (Official Gazette 2017).
On March 2019 Head of State Duterte decided for the permanent termination of the 32 years peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front (Santos 2017), over preference of Government for regional peace engagements (Placido 2019 ). The matter is consistent with the December 2018 issuance of EO 70 which institutionalized whole-of-nation approach for peace that dismantles the negotiating panel and constitutes the National Task Force for the closure of Local Communist Armed Conflict (Roque 2019). On Valentine the same year, an ambush on an Army detachment in Malaybalay Bukidnon leave two military men dead, and the capture of M4 rifles and ammunition (Gallardo 2019).
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1 New People's Army or NPA is the militant arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines or CPP. Founded in March 1969, the group current strength is nearly 3200 militants as of 2015 (Santos 2010). CPP seeks to overthrow the Philippine Government in favour of the working class, and is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (Communist Party of the Philippines 1968).
2 National Democratic Front of the Philippines positions as a revolutionary group fighting for national freedom and democratic people’s rights (Tiglao 2013); thus the class struggle contrary the landlords or compradors and ultimately the elimination of American imperialism (Pates 2015). The organisation was founded in April 1973, with headquarters in Amsterdam (Malley 2015).
3 During the incumbency of Head of State Corazon Aquino, turbulence came with the Mendiola massacre in January 1987, with13 farmers dead and scores injured (Curaming 2013). Given so, peace was short-lived and over 40 rounds of peace talks have been conducted by Government then since (Jones 1989). 1999 the abduction of four military officers in three separate incidents in Mindanao and Bicol resulted in the suspension of CARHRIHL by Head of State Estrada (Political Economy Research Institute 2015). Rodolfo Aguinaldo is assassinated by suspected NPA militants, but back-channel talks are conducted between parties throughout 2002. In 2016ceasefire is lifted after the militant groups fail to impose a reciprocal ceasefire when militiamen are ambushed in Davao del Norte (Colina 2016).
- Quote paper
- Ytt Quaesitum Research (Author), 2019, Ending the Rebel Peace Talks in the Philippines, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/495966