BY RENATO REYES JR.
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN
January 3, 2013
Malacanang and its spokespersons have no one to blame but themselves for the problems in the ceasefire with the New People’s Army. It is Malacanang who is responsible for nearly scuttling the synchronized ceasefire after failing to issue its own undertaking extending its own ceasefire up to January 15.
Facts are stubborn things. Facts will show that the NDF agreed to a synchronized ceasefire from December 20, 2012 to January 15, 2013, after a meeting with the GPH and Norwegian government in the Netherlands. Facts will show that the Aquino government failed to issue a similar undertaking extending its ceasefire from January 2 to January 15, 2013. The holiday ceasefire was supposedly to support peace efforts as well as relief and rehabilitation work in areas hit by typhoon Pablo. The development was welcomed by many supporters of the peace process.
The letter from Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to President Benigno Aquino, dated January 1, 2013 and endorsing the extension of the ceasefire, shows the belated action of the Aquino government that nearly scuttled the ceasefire declaration. The letter was received by Malacanang only on January 2 and acted upon by the President on the same day. This came at a time when the NDF already recommended calling off the ceasefire for the failure of the GPH to issue its own undertaking. After the belated declaration of Malacanang, the NDF again recommended to the CPP the observance of the ceasefire up to January 15.
Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda and GPH peace panel members should check this because their own records will show that the belated declaration was made by their side. Lacierda and company should stop pointing fingers.
Now if Malacanang cannot be relied upon to make timely actions on simple matters such as a ceasefire declaration, how can the people expect it to undertake more crucial decisions on more substantial issues contained in the peace negotiations? Malacanang appears to be not interested in pursuing serious peace negotiations to address the root causes of armed conflict in the country.
Peace advocates should hold Malacanang accountable for its failure to move forward with the peace negotiations, especially in light of an NDF proposal for an immediate truce based on principles which could end the armed conflict and address the national and democratic demands of the people. # nordis.net