Partylist group Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) said a “sober reconsideration” of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and not an “all-out war” is the only way to go for the Duterte administration if it is sincere in pursuing peace.
Reacting to a recent statement by Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana, Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus said an “all-out war” against communist rebels misses the point of the peace talks, which is primarily aimed at addressing the roots of armed conflict.
“We express serious concern over Secretary Lorenzana’s statement as it is a signal fire for a repeat of the bloody counterinsurgency war of past administrations. Going full-throttle against perceived communists will only worsen the militarization of communities across the country and escalate the human rights violations on civilians,” Rep. De Jesus said.
“A sober reconsideration of the peace talks and the socio-agenda reform agenda should be the only way to go. Both parties have already made strides in affirming previous agreements and crafting the framework for the comprehensive agenda on social and reform reforms. It’s senseless for the Duterte administration to go back to square one,” she added.
De Jesus said the AFP and the PNP should learn from history in waging an all-out war on the communist insurgency.
“History tells us that the state’s militarist approach did not bring peace at all to communities. Instead, it has brought unrest to communities, military occupation of Lumad schools, and displacement of thousands of families,” the lawmaker said.
The Gabriela solon cited the long list of human rights violations committed by the AFP under previous counterinsurgency programs, including the murder of a pregnant woman in Bukidnon in July 2016 and militarization of several tribal schools in Mindanao.
De Jesus urged both panels to exhaust all options to go back to the negotiating table, saying what is most important at this point is the discussion of long-term solutions to the impoverishment of the Filipino people. #