Sincerity is required for ushering in peace.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and his chosen men are just made for each other. His men are like pickers in a circus; they keep picking what the elephant left behind and clean up the act. In the end, everything is neat and clean.
His Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and his team handle interpretations of what he said and why.
Moreover, the peace advisor to the President Jesus Dureza also lends a diplomatic helping hand. There is no doubt that this is an increasingly difficult task but the pattern remains established and smooth.
Thus, the capable men around a President are the ones who make the diplomatic ends meet.
Hence, when the President laid down conditions for resumption of talks and calling of a truce they called them wishes. The matter in question was the curtailed peace process with the communists.
He clarified that the communist rebels must adhere to two criterions in case they wanted to resume peace parleys. The first step would be to release the captives in their custody. The second requirement would be to stop the collections of a revolutionary fund.
It was Jesus Dureza who clarified that these were not demands but wishes of the President of the Philippines. The President had stipulated these two requirements before the government representatives could return to the negotiating table.
This was the gist of his Friday address to a gathering in Cagayan de Oro City.
By doing so, the reds would be displaying their sincerity in trying for a peaceful solution to the struggle.
The President stated that if there was a ceasefire the rebels’ sincerity is necessary. In addition, he also reminded that the government had declared a ceasefire but they still killed soldiers.
This was a direct reference to the incident that occurred in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. The truce was in force between the AFP and the NPA; yet the NPA killed 3 soldiers. Stung by the challenge, Duterte announced the withdrawal of the ceasefire till the reds were serious in ushering in peace.
The eagerness of the government to seek a truce seems to have sent the wrong signals to the rebels. But, Duterte is willing to go to any lengths to secure a peaceful solution. For any information to come to the public domain, the time had to be ripe, he stated.
He has all kinds of aces up his sleeve; he hinted as much when newsmen questioned him. However, the time was not ripe for revealing it to everyone, he said.
But, he reiterated his resolve not to take any more initiatives till the rebels released all soldiers and stopped collection of taxes. He also expressed his displeasure at the way the communists made promises only to withdraw later.
It is very difficult to digest since it embarrasses the government each time it happens. Dureza who mentioned that the President did not want any pre-conditions to talks, he clarified.
He further stated that there are many factors that determine when the conditions are conducive for talks. However, he did not offer any explanations.
President Duterte made an emotional appeal to the reds to give up the hatred in their hearts. In the speech at Cagayan de Ora City, he cited the killing of 3 soldiers as proof of that hatred.
Hence, the need of the hour was that they dispel the hatred from their hearts.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Sunday, 05 March 2017