If Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison says the National Democratic Front could no longer be persuaded to return to the negotiating table, that's quite possibly the end of the peace process with the communist-led movement.
Sison was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that talks would resume only if the insurgents declared a ceasefire.
“The line has been drawn to separate, fight and overthrow the US-Duterte regime. Duterte would have a hard time to act convincing again,” Sison said last week. “Early on, it has been proven that Duterte is a liar and untrustworthy,” he added.
Sison also scoffed at Duterte’s proposal to make New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas who surrendered part of state security forces.
“He wants to convert surrendered NPAs into his soldiers? Duterte has truly gone insane,” the communist chieftain said.
The virtual end of the peace talks means that hopes for solving the half-a-century armed insurgency by the New People's Army have been dashed to the ground.
Duterte suspended the talks after the NPA mounted a series of attacks on government forces even as the peace talks in Europe were gaining ground.
The straw that broke the camel's back, as it were, was the ambush by the NPA of a convoy of the Presidential Security Group in Arakan, North Cotabato province, in July.
We are not surprised that the NPA does not want to stop attacks on government troops as it sees peace talks as only a tactic to further its goal of seizure of state power through armed struggle.
Given this, it will continue its attacks even as their negotiators face their counterparts in government.
Fighting while negotiating does not speak well of the NDF's sincerity and good faith in entering into peace talks with the government.
The charade must stop and the government should not waste more time, energy and effort in talking with rebels who simply do not want peace but never-ending war.