Duterte told, ditch all-out war, push for goodwill measures to restart peace talks

Duterte told, ditch all-out war, push for goodwill measures to restart peace talks

Bayan calls on the President Rodrigo Duterte to ditch his government’s all-out war policy and instead embark on goodwill measures that could jumpstart the peace talks with the NDFP. His speech before the AFP yesterday does not augur well with his peace overtures. It is contrary to his earlier announcement that he wishes the peace talks to resume.

Several goodwill measures can be taken during the holiday season which may help jump-start the peace talks next year.

A holiday ceasefire between the armed combatants is desirable especially now that several regions have been stricken with natural calamities from typhoon Tisoy and the recent Mindanao earthquakes. Humanitarian efforts can proceed without fear of military operations and encounters.

President Duterte should consider this in making his announcement on whether or not his government will implement a suspension of police and military operations.

We are also calling for the immediate release of elederly and sick political prisoners. Let us try to bring them home in time for the holiday season and the new year. Their release on humanitarian grounds bodes well for the peace talks.

Also of note should be the release of peace consultants of the NDFP who were arrested on trumped up charges. Their participation in the peace talks requires their release. As a matter of justice, and as a matter of necessity, the peace consultants should be released.

The nation awaits the resumption of peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP as the talks seek to address the root causes of the armed conflict.

A window for peace, and the prospect of resuming formal talks next year, is indeed an invaluable “Christmas gift” so to speak, from both sides of the armed conflict. The public and various groups and institutions are encouraged to support all initiatives that can lead to the resumption of formal peace talks between the GRP and NDFP. ###

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