BAYAN: Resumption of peace talks the ‘best’ solution

By Baretang Bikolnon staff

“He knows who he needs to talk to,” according to Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) stating that all issues of President Rodrigo Duterte against the New People’s Army (NPA) are best addressed through the peace talks.

Reyes said that the resumption of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the government is the “best” solution.

“Threatening the NPA with a terrorist label, like what GMA and the US did before, will not accomplish anything, only intensified attacks on the people,” he said.

Duterte already branded the NPA as ‘terrorists’ and will issue a proclamation declaring the NPA as criminals.

“I am tired of seeing properties destructed, equipment burned, and the killing of innocent people, and there’s even a four-month old (baby) involved,” he told reporters.

The President is also no longer inclined to resume peace talks.

According to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza during the 13th Mindanao Island Conference held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, there is a need to first address the roots of the armed conflict in order to find a long-lasting solution to the decades-long rebellion in the country.

He pointed out that negotiation with the various rebel groups “is only a small part” of what the national government is currently doing to push the peace process forward.

The GRP Peace Adviser likened the peace process to the “chicken and egg” dilemma which begs the question of what should come first – peace or development.

“They say that there is no peace because there is no development” and vice versa,” Sec. Dureza said, but quickly added that “Both must be done simultaneously.”

As for Duterte’s threats of a crackdown against Bayan, Reyes said it is premised on a so-called conspiracy between Bayan and the NPA. “It is such a Marcosian mindset,” he said.

Instead of development for the country, Reyes added that Duterte’s threat of a crackdown is intended to eliminate the most effective resistance to fascist dictatorship, human rights abuses, anti-people economic impositions and increased US intervention.

“Indeed we have seen this scenario before in our history. The imagined “conspiracy” may even be used as his pretext for the declaration of a so-called “revolutionary government” where all power is
concentrated in the President,” Reyes said.

If that happens, it will be 1972 all over again according to Reyes.

“The people however will resist such a plan. Never again,” Reyes added. (

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