On a Monday morning rush hour, the traffic along the EDSA-Aurora intersection in Cubao, Quezon City was temporarily halted when around a thousand members of revolutionary organizations allied with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) held a lightning rally. The groups expressed their support for the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and NDFP in Rome, Italy.
“Malaki ang nakataya sa yugtong ito ng usapang pangkapayapaan para sa malawak na masa na sadlak sa kahirapan dahil mga sosyo-ekonomikong mga reporma ang nakasalang at pinag-uusapan ng rebolusyonaryong gobyerno at ng rehimeng Duterte (There is a lot at stake at this stage of the peace talks for the people who are plunged into poverty because the socio-economic reforms is already next on the agenda with the revolutionary government and Duterte regime talks),” said NDFP Metro Manila in a statement.
The next supplemental agenda on the table for the GRP-NDFP peace talks is the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic (CASER) that is considered the “meat” of the peace talks. The agenda on social and economic reforms hit the core of the peace talks objectives, to address the root cause of the armed conflict.
On the other hand, the group slammed the Duterte administration’s apparent rush to sign a bilateral ceasefire.
“Nagmamadaling magkaroon ng bilateral ceasefire ang pamahalaan sa kabila ng papaliit na ang liwanag na nakikita ng masang Pilipino mula nang magsimula ang peace talks bunga ng kaliwa’t kanang paglabag sa ceasefire ng rehimeng Duterte (The government is in a hurry to sign a bilateral ceasefire while the hope that the Filipino masses see is getting dimmer since the start of the peace talks because of the left and right ceasefire violations of the the Duterte Regime),” said NDFP Metro Manila.
In a statement, revolutionary youth group Kabataang Makabayan spokesperson Maria Laya Guerrero called on the Duterte administration for the immediate release of all political prisoners.
“Mahalagang hakbang ito upang patunayan ang sinseridad ng gobyernong Duterte sa pagpasok nito sa usapang pangkapayapaan. Ito ay isang sukatan upang ipakitang kayang sundin ng pamahalaan ang mga pinapasok nitong kasunduan (The release of political prisoners is an important step to prove the sincerity of the Duterte government in the peace talks. This will measure how the government can comply with the agreements it signed),” said Guerrero.
Guerrero further stated that the promise of releasing political prisoners in exchange of a bilateral ceasefire agreement, it appears that the government is not after a lasting peace but an artificial peace in a form of a ceasefire.
NDFP Metro Manila emphasized that Duterte’s promise of change and reforms is slowly turning away from the people, so the people has no other recourse but to further intensify the people’s war they are waging.
“Sa digmang bayan makakamit ang tunay at pangmatagalang kapayapaan na hinahangad ng masang Pilipino (The Filipino masses can only achieve a genuine and lasting peace through people’s war),” the NDFP Metro Manila concluded.