Duterte’s cancellation of stand-down and formal peace talks is unacceptable

GRP President Duterte’s nth time cancellation of the scheduled
resumption of formal peace negotiations is totally
unacceptable. He has also canceled the scheduled stand down
that was set to take effect one week before the formal talks.

Malacañang made the announcement withdrawing from the scheduled
talks after consulting with the AFP and his national security
officials. Belying his pronouncements of willing to “walk the
extra mile for peace,” Duterte and the AFP are refusing to
tread the path of peace talks as a way of addressing the roots
of the armed conflict. The Filipino people are fed up with
Duterte’s doublespeak.

What is clear is that Duterte is obsessed with waging all-out
war against the people and talks of peace only as a way of
inducing the surrender of the revolutionary forces through a
prolonged ceasefire without resolving through concrete reforms
such widespread problems of the people as rural poverty,
hunger, joblessness, low wages, insecure jobs and others.

For the record, the CPP was set to issue a standby order to the
New People’s Army (NPA) in anticipation of the announcement of
the stand-down agreement.

Duterte is making himself look foolish and whimsical by claiming
“I am not ready” to justify his cancellation of the scheduled
talks. In fact, Duterte is merely concealing his disinterest in
implementing the stand-down agreement and seriously pursuing
formal peace negotiations. He is completely indifferent to the
pressing issues of land reform, national industrialization and
overall economic development, issues which the Filipino people
have long demanded for.

Even now, all of the AFP’s close to 100 field battalions are
relentlessly deploying thousands of troops across the country.
Under the US-designed Oplan Kapayapaan, Duterte and the AFP are
zealously waging all-out war targeting the civilian population
in the rural areas and applying the Marawi tactics of laying
siege on several hundred rural barangays to suppress their
resistance and grab their lands.

Several hundred hinterland barrios and entire towns across the
country are being occupied by the military, deploying an
overwhelming number of troops in resource-rich areas,
especially those being targeted for conversion into plantations
and mining areas, as well as military reservations, including
vast ancestral lands of Mindanao Lumads (particularly in the
Pantaron range) and Moros (especially the Liguasan Marsh and
Marawi), of the Dumagats in Quezon province and other national
minority groups and peasant communities demanding land reform.

With Duterte’s unilateral cancellation of the scheduled talks,
the CPP and NPA are ever more resolute in waging and advancing
people’s war across the country in order to defend the Filipino
people against the assaults of the fascist regime. The Party
directs the NPA to continue to consolidate, strengthen and
expand its ranks and its mass base across the country, rouse
the people to fight their oppressors and exploiters, mount
widespread tactical offensives targeting the worst of the AFP’s
fascist units, as well as the ruling regime’s criminal and
fascist cohorts, in order to frustrate the US-Duterte regime’s
Oplan Kapayapaan and its aim of crushing the people’s armed
resistance this year.

The Filipino people are determined to unite and wage struggles
amid increasingly intolerable conditions of socio-economic
crisis and blatant fascism to oust the US-Duterte regime.