Marco L. Valbuena, Chief Information Officer
Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) welcomes the signing of the Oslo Joint Statement last November 23 in Oslo, Norway, by the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and official envoys of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The joint statement is a declaration of intent to create conditions and set the framework for holding peace negotiations.
The Party and the New People’s Army (NPA) extend all-out support to the Negotiating Panel of the NDFP chaired by Juliet de Lima, and its esteemed members, Louie Jalandoni, Coni Ledesma and Asterio Palima, and express full confidence in their representation of the broad democratic interests of the Filipino people.
The Oslo Joint Statement is a first half-step in the long march leading to the resumption of formal peace negotiations, and in the even longer road of achieving the people’s aspiration for a just and lasting peace.
In his blood-lust, former GRP President Duterte threw ten thousand thorns and spikes at the road of peace and rendered it impassable. With the mistaken notion that the armed revolution can be crushed through sheer armed might, Duterte unleashed his war of state terrorism marked by abductions, torture, murder and massacres.
Duterte’s war was gross and bloody, but it was also an utter failure. Such failure is implicitly recognized by the fact that panels of the GRP and NDFP are now set to face each other across the table of peace negotiations.
There are peace talks because there is war. The NDFP and GRP are co-belligerents in the civil war in the Philippines. They are adversaries and represent diametrically opposed interests and objectives, but who come to the table under the declared aim of achieving a just and lasting peace.
To clear the road for peace negotiations, it is the distinct responsibility of Marcos to take the initiative to sweep away the Duterte-period thorns and spikes which litter it.
To allow the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations to move forward, Marcos must: (a) release all the NDFP peace consultants to allow them to take part in the discussions and negotiations; (b) rescind the “terrorist designation” of the NDFP, and that of Ka Luis Jalandoni, the CPP, the NPA and other personnel of the NDFP. These are critical and practical measures, without which, it is doubtful that peace negotiations can even proceed.
For the march towards peace to move forward quickly, Marcos can also withdraw the Duterte-issued Executive Order No 70 and Memorandum Order No 32, dismantle the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, cause the repeal of the draconian Anti-Terror Law, order the AFP to withdraw armed soldiers conducting “localized peace negotiations” and “community support” which merely disguise the bloody suppression of peasant barangays active in defense of their land and democratic rights, and order a stop to Gaza-like aerial bombing and artillery shelling of farms and fields in the countryside.
To create conditions conducive to peace, Marcos can order the release of more than 800 political prisoners. Many of them are old and sick, and have already suffered enough undue punishment and prolonged detention as a result of multiple criminal charges in violation of the Hernandez Doctrine. A number of the political prisoners are nursing mothers who must be immediately released together with their infants.
There should be an accounting of all violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) in the killing and imprisonment of NDFP peace consultants.
The GRP represents the interests of the big bourgeois compradors (the so-called oligarchs and tycoons who hold vast business interests), the big landlords, the bureaucrat capitalists, who all find congruence with the economic interests and geopolitical aims of the US imperialists.
The NDFP represents the people’s democratic government and the aspirations of the oppressed and exploited classes and sectors comprising the Filipino people, including workers, peasants, fisherfolk, the toiling masses, national minorities, migrant workers, youth, health workers, teachers, ordinary employees, lawyers, artists and cultural workers, women, gender minorities, and others.
It has been proven in the past that while the NDFP and the GRP represent two diametrically opposed economic interests and political aims, and continue to engage in a shooting war in the battlefield, they can forge agreements such as The Hague Declaration, the JASIG, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
These agreements must be reaffirmed and serve as foundations for future agreements on socioeconomic reforms, as well as political and constitutional reforms.
The signing of the Oslo Joint Statement come at a time of intensifying economic and political crisis. Worsening conditions facing the Filipino people compel them to wage mass struggles to push forward their urgent demands for substantial wage increases, lower prices, reduction of land rent, lower costs of agricultural input, and so on.
The corruption, anti-people and anti-democratic policies and programs of the US-Marcos regime are causing widespread poverty and hunger, economic dispossession and dislocation. Marcos continues to unleash state terrorist violence to silence the people and suppress their grievances and resistance. In full subservience to his imperialist master, Marcos have paved the way for the US military to use the Philippines as forward base for encircling China, and the AFP as pawns in its aggressive military operations in the South China Sea.
The Filipino people have no other recourse but to continue intensifying their mass struggles and revolutionary armed struggle to defend their livelihood, their rights and the people’s national freedom, and isolate and fight the puppet, fascist and oppressive Marcos regime.