Duterte regime’s double-talk on the peace process betrays sincerity to a just and lasting peace - Karapatan

“The Duterte regime harps on its desire for ‘peace’ while mouthing preconditions that violate previous agreements in the peace process and that will never resolve the root causes of the state of unpeace in the country. It has also relentlessly committed human rights violations on the ground, including the fake terror list which has endangered more than 600 individuals. Its propensity for double-talk is testament to its insincerity in pursuing just and lasting peace,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor on the recent statement of Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.  
 
On April 12, Dureza said that the Duterte government is “silently” working on the peace talks and that it cannot commit to the withdrawal of the petition by the Department of Justice proscribing the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations. The said petition also includes names of human rights defenders, activists and dissenters. 

“How can the GRP expect to talk peace when it demonizes the other party, and subjects the NDFP’s panel members to various forms of rights violations?” asked Clamor, adding that the Justice Department’s proscription petition have also explicitly named members of the negotiating panel. 

“We are inclined to believe that amid the statements that the government is “silently” working to resume the talks, certain elements within the government are also “silently” working to derail it. It is no secret that the likes of Duterte himself, Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and all who espouse the militarist approach, have long undermined the peace process,” Clamor emphasized.

The group’s deputy secretary general also raised the issue of an NDFP consultant in Mindanao who has been abducted and disappeared along with her husband. NDFP peace consultant Lora Manipis and her husband Jeruel Domingo were last seen on February 24, 2018 in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. They have not made any contact since then. The NDFP already raised the alarm on their disappearance, adding the possibility that they might already been executed or are suffering from intense torture under military custody. The group also mentioned the arrest of NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis in January 2018.

“By now, we are familiar with the government’s narrative. They try to manifest themselves as victims if something doesn’t go their way, or if the NDFP refuses to heed to their preconditions. When the implementation of signed agreements and just demands are being put on the table, when socioeconomic reforms are being urged, the Duterte government shrinks to the side and finds a way to wiggle out of the entire process. We thus repeat that the only way forward is through the affirmation of previously signed agreements, the withdrawal of the terror petition, and an end to all policies that have facilitated and directed rights violations against individuals and communities who have long advocated for just and lasting peace,” concluded Clamor.