Various groups expressed support for the possible resumption of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), following the joint communique signed last November 23 where the two parties agreed to resolve the armed conflict.
“National unity and an end to armed hostilities are possible if there are thoroughgoing socio-economic and political reforms that benefit the people,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in a statement.
The possible resumptions of talks also received a nod from the House of Representatives. In a joint statement of political party leaders in the House of Representatives (HOR), they described the signing as a “historic move” that is a “pivotal moment in our nation’s journey towards lasting peace and sustainable development.”
Two weeks into the signing, Vice President Sara Duterte criticized the joint communique. She said that the Marcos Jr. administration should reconsider the decision to resume the epace talks, describing it as “an agreement with the devil.”
Duterte is also vice chairperson of the notorious National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which was formed under the administration of her father after the GRP’s unilateral termination of the peace negotiations in 2017.
House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said that such statements “reflect a lack of understanding of the complexities of the peace process and a disregard for the aspirations of the Filipino people for just and lastice peace.”
“Instead of promoting war, we call on the Vice President and those she represents to support efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in the country,” she added.
Karapatan meanwhile was not surprised by Duterte’s statement saying “Perhaps the peace the Vice President aspires for is the peace of the graveyard — an end to dissent, to vigorous democratic discourse and debate and the quest for better alternatives for our people.”