“Freedom is not a gift received from a State or a leader but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.” – Camus, Bread and Freedom
President Noynoy Aquino has promised to “revive the peace process that is aimed toward addressing the root causes of the armed conflict and forging a political settlement” (TQ Deles).
So that in October last year, the president designated and appointed the reconstituted government panel for peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDFP). The government panel is led by Atty. Alex D. Padilla as chief negotiator, and Baguio’s very own, Atty. Pablito V. Sanidad as member .
Even with these known and respected human rights defenders of Luzon on the peace negotiating table, the optimism surrounding the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDFP is not as high as it is projected on the national level by the reconstituted GPH panel as it is down here on the peaks of the Cordillera, the Caraballo and Sierra Madre mountain ranges.
Especially, that recent events of unpeace in these mountain ranges involve government people that feed doubt and continue to erode the people’s trust that government can sincerely represent them at the peace talks or at the negotiating table for peace.
As described by an Ibaloi in a recent church conference for peace, “ natalna kami ta awan ti NPA mi, awan ti military mi, ngem gapu ti minas ada ti imay nga military…” (we are at peace, we have no NPA, we have no military, but because of the mines the military came…)
There isn’t already a mountain range, major river or geothermal site here in the northern Luzon that is not threatened by large scale, multi-national capital development that has in turn also posed mass displacement and disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples’ communities, destruction of traditional sustainable sources of livelihood, destruction of communal forests and ancestral domains. A great threat to the mountain people’s life and way of life.
Under this continuing situation of insecurity, hopes and trust for a true representation of the peoples’ aspirations on that negotiating table can be perceived as absent.
So that Atty. Sanidad found it necessary to repeatedly state to the participants in this peace conference that, “saan nga dakammi ti mangikeddeng ti kappia ditoy pagillian no ketdi ti tao, ti umili laeng ti mangikeddeng ti kappia ditoy pagillian.” (We do not decide peace for the country but it is only for the people to determine peace in the nation.)
And, to which Bishop Alex Wandag as a representative of the Church had to respond, “we have just been given an assignment to invite a popular clamor for Peace.”
Let us voice out our piece; help build and support the progressive popular clamor for justice and peace. # nordis.net