The past few months have been a “whirlwind romance” for the peace panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) — a successful third round of the Peace Talks in Rome in January; followed by the lifting of unilateral ceasefires of both parties which eventually led to the GRP suspending the talks in February, and; a few days ago, the GRP-NDFP successfully concluded the fourth round of the peace talks in The Netherlands.
Our hats off to both parties for their relentless effort to go back to the negotiating table and continue to talk peace despite the resurgence of armed confrontations between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). Special mention to the Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and his peace panel for remaining steadfast in the quest for lasting peace because lesser men (or women), just as the case of the previous administrations, would have folded to the cravings of fascists for the blood of the revolutionaries.
If there is anything that the Peace Talks have taught the Filipino people, it is that peace is not easy to attain because there will always be obstacles or issues that both sides would have to hurdle or resolve. And it will take not only patience and understanding to resolve these issues but a high level of confidence and trust on each side for their counterpart to abide by the agreements or resolutions that they have mutually agreed on. The recently concluded fourth round of the Peace Talks is a clear example. If not for the high level of confidence on both sides (The GRP and the NDFP), no back channel talks or any third party facilitator would convince the parties to resume the talks that was unilaterally suspended by Pres. Duterte last February. Furthermore, both sides have accepted the fact that the peace talks could or should continue even with resurgence armed hostilities.
Attaining lasting peace is complicated. There will always be conflict but both parties should talk to resolve these issues. More importantly, aside from having confidence-building gestures, both parties should comply with the resolutions that they have mutually agreed on. It is time for the Filipino masses to feel the sincerity of both sides in attaining peace and this could start with the release of the 23 political prisoners by the GRP and the release of the prisoners of war (POW) by the NPA.
As a matter of fact, the NDFP released, even without the AFP suspending it’s military operations, two POWs namely Rene Doller and Carl Mark Nucos of the 72nd Infantry Battalion CAFGU, before the start of the fourth round of the Peace Talks. It would be prudent for the AFP to accept the NPA’s gesture of peace and ensure the safety of the remaining POWs by suspending its military operations during the Holy Week, the week the NDFP promised to release the POWs.
It would also be a fitting Easter Sunday for Filipinos if the POWs and political prisoners would be released from their “captivity”.
Talk is important but action is divine. # nordis.net