Duterte mulls new panel to talk peace with Reds

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Duterte mulls new panel to talk peace with Reds

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — After announcing the “permanent” termination of peace talks last month, President Duterte is now considering forming a new panel to negotiate peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

This time, the President said he wants the peace panel to be composed of at least two civilians and three military officials.

At the campaign rally of the ruling Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon the other day, Duterte said he was exasperated with the slow pace of the peace negotiations in the past.

He said he now wants a new approach to the peace talks with the CPP-New People’s Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front (NDF).

It took the previous peace panel too long – at least three years – to come up with results in negotiating peace with the CPP-NPA-NDF, according to the Chief Executive.

Last month, Duterte said he would no longer entertain any interventions or moves to persuade him to change his mind regarding the termination of peace talks with the communist rebels.

“You can, maybe, talk to the next president of this republic, one day,” he said.

The announcement on the end of the peace talks came a day after Malacañang terminated the services of its peace panel members, including chief government negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, last March 20.

Duterte also lambasted the communist rebels for the continued attacks against government forces and even civilians even if the peace process was ongoing then.

Joma sees poll rigging

Meanwhile, CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison says he sees Duterte, his former student, scheming to rig the elections next month.

“In a full month before the May 13, 2019 elections, we can expect an avalanche of propaganda from the Duterte regime to conjure the illusion of Duterte’s perpetual popularity, foretell the ‘victory’ of its senatorial and local executive candidates and cover his secret orders to the Commission on Elections and the military to rig the elections,” Sison said in his latest lashing out against the President.

“The propaganda drive of the regime to spread lies involves the frenzied use of government agencies and resources, paid opinion poll surveys, red-tagging of opposition candidates and parties, planted news stories and columns, TV and radio broadcasts, troll armies in social media, tarpaulins and posters, herded paid crowds, and so on,” he added.

Sison claimed that there is an overspending of public and private resources “and over-exerting (of Duterte) in trying to create the false illusion of popular support in order to pave the way for election rigging in favor of the regime’s candidates and for Charter change to a bogus kind of federalism by which absolute powers are concentrated in the hands of Duterte as fascist dictator on top of his regional and provincial agents among his fellow oligarchs, dynasts and warlords.”

There is an intention purportedly to draw attention away from the widespread indignation of the people “over the regime’s tyrannical, treasonous, mass murdering, plundering and inflationary policies and acts,” in an attempt to “overshadow the ground swell of support for the opposition candidates from Catholic and other Christian voters, the patriotic and progressive organizations and other people offended by the crimes of the regime,” according to the CPP founding chairman.

Sison challenged patriotic and progressive forces and all other opposition forces “to do do their best to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people for the electoral struggle to defeat the anti-national and anti-democratic Duterte regime and make evident their victory with far larger electoral rallies and mass protest actions than the meetings of the paid and herded crowds of the regime.”

“Unless (the President) steps back from his evil scheme to rig the elections and ensure Charter change to bogus federalism, Duterte unwittingly prepares for his overthrow in the same manner that Marcos was overthrown by urban mass uprising after his fake electoral victory in 1986 or creates the combustible conditions for an unprecedented nationwide intensification of people’s war to counter the escalation of fascist attacks on the people,” Sison warned. – With Artemio Dumlao