The charade Peace Negotiation between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) would propel to the limelight again after Pope Francis visit to the country at the start of 2015. Both the NDFP and GPH never abandoned the idea of a peace process in 20 years of interrupted and unsettled peace negotiations. But that was all for a show. To be an opponent of peace is a bad publicity. So, both parties keep on with the charade.
The stark reality is after 40 years of the government’s use of its resources, the insurgency continues. Likewise, the commies never get near to a point to seize power.
Both parties feign attempts for substantial results from peace talks have always been used to gain advantage of their positions. The commies are fanatics of “protracted people’s war”. Whatever tactics or strategies they employ, joining in the electoral process, for example, these are just steps to reach the “Strategic Stalemate” stage prior to their ultimate objective of seizing power. The Reds use peace negotiation to regroup and consolidate their ranks, to gain propaganda mileage, and solicit financial support. The government’s use of peace talk on the other hand, is to append its dossiers of intelligence materials for counterinsurgency purposes. Confidence building mechanism has always been the choking point. In the past, the absence of good faith breached the mutually agreed protocols and procedures, such as what is embodied in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guaranteed (JASIG) and the Oslo Joint Statement (OJS). The breaches and violations have been an all too common features of peace talks’ collapse, and then what followed was the heating up again of the decades-old conflict.
The year 2015 was the timetable set up by the Reds to launch their ambitious “Strategic Stalemate” stage, prior to seizing power. The commies see an opportunity of using the presidential ambition of Jejomar Binay as a vehicle to get this stage into traction. The above ground commies, the militant organizations, like the Bayan and others, wish Binay to become the nation’s president. Binay, although beset by corruption charges that dived down his rating, still, he is the top choice for president. Of course, the intellectual elite nationwide would be incensed by the prospect, more so, if Binay is elected. The collective anger among people would run its course. These would precipitate the elite to replicate what they spearheaded before to oust the former President Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada.
The Reds committed tactical mistakes on these two milestone political events, and their participation was overshadowed at the sideline. However, if Binay wins, this time, the Reds will see to it that they would be the frontrunner to oust Binay. They would ride on the elite’s anger and pound this on their mass base. No wonder the commies had been dead stone quiet of Binay’s corruption allegation. No impeachment rap for Binay. No lightning rallies. No burning of effigies. No petition signing. The commies don’t like to be the stumbling block in getting Binay elected.
So the Reds sent an overture to the Government to resume the peace talks to pave the way for their “Strategic Stalemate” stage. As the Government’s peace, accord with the MILF loomed to be a reality this 2015 when its governing laws are passed in the current Congress, there is no harm getting back to the table with the Reds for peace talks. The Government thought that just in case the talks collapse again, at the time when peace in Mindanao is already in place, the government could free up some of their fighting resources to focus on the Reds.
PNoy was not that enthusiastic in the renewed dialogue, but said to the effect that he is ready for the worst and hope for the best. So here come the charade again.