Monday, 25 July 2016

In pursuit of an all out "Just and Lasting Peace"

In pursuit of an all out "Just and Lasting Peace"

Notes after President Rodrigo Duterte's first "State of the Nation Address"
and the people's quest for an all out "Just and Lasting Peace" based on Justice

At first, this person is ought to say that President Rodrigo Duterte's first "State of the Nation Address" is all but significant despite being described as a sermon if not a typical series of promises.

Yes, for since people got used to seeing facts and figures if not matter to brag over, it seems that the President's State of the Nation Address is more an extemporaneous speech  that deals about the clear and present situation rather than canned sound bytes that those from the system accustomed to, supported by some "figures" that oftentimes countered with some accurate ones brought about by research if not from the majority's statements themselves.

However, one that brought interest on this person's view over Duterte's address is the issue on the people's desire for a "Just and Lasting Peace", that for sure even from the government, without its war hawks, also desired for it as such.

According to an article from Rappler, that the issue on Peace, especially with rebel groups National Democratic Front, Moro National Liberation Front, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has been one of the major campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte. And a few weeks after he was inaugurated as President, he approved "in its entirety" the "road map to peace" as proposed by Secretary and Peace Negotiator Jesus Dureza.

The "road map to peace", as according to Dureza, lays out the details in attaining long-lasting peace for a country whose conflict has been decades-old, and in it includes honoring agreements made between the government and rebel groups such as the "GRP-NDF Breukelen Joint Statement".

When it comes to making peace with the Left, the Duterte administration is on the right track. Formal talks between the National Democratic Front and the Duterte-led government is set to resume in August. The first meeting will have a 5-point agenda which includes:

1.) Affirmation of previously-signed agreements.

2.)Accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: 
2.1) socio-economic reforms; 
2.2) political and economic reforms; 
2.3) end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

3.) Reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list.

4.) Amnesty Proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress.

5.) Mode of interim ceasefire.

Quite irresistible though that the road map to peace may have been same as those of the NDF, be it the "Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law", of "Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms", and the like.

And through Duterte himself has also stated the idea of a unilateral ceasefire from the day itself as he said:

"I am announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF effective immediately,"

Along with an order from the Armed Forces of the Philippines regarding the ceasefire procedures. While the NDF, through the Communist Party of the Philppines (CPP-MLM) also expressed the same statement as it said:

"The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) welcomes GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s unilateral declaration of ceasefire with the revolutionary armed forces.

We await the release of the operational details, schedules and specific orders of GRP President Duterte’s declaration. The leadership of the CPP will soon issue its own unilateral ceasefire declaration as a reciprocal act to boost the peace talks.

GRP President Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration is a positive boost to the NDFP-GRP peace talks scheduled for August 20-27. We expect that such a declaration will be complemented soon with the earlier declared plan to release all NDFP peace consultants and the rest of the 550 political prisoners.

In the interim, the CPP orders the New People’s Army to maintain an active defense mode."

Furthermore, there are also statements coming from concerned groups such as for the operating troops of the AFP to withdraw, urgently, from the civilian communities: particularly homes, community schools, barangay halls, and health centers that usually used by the Armed Forces as its "barracks" if not subjects for harassments.

source: Rappler
Again, it seemed to be hope provoking, if not tempting since the government, through a leader known for cooperating with rebel groups "in pursuit of peace", has afforded to create such statements different from its predecessors, and perhaps actions such as "a road to peace." However, there are "right-wing", "hawkish" critics that somehow trying to stall the negotiations and willing to prolong the conflict, putting the blame as possible to the enemy itself as its culprit, that even from the government itself also opposed their assertions as such.

And to think that it may really find hard to attain that "Just and Lasting Peace" especially coming from those who rather profited much on war and disorder. Perhaps one would hope that President Duterte, despite being called "punisher" against Crime and Corruption, may not be as same as his obviously hawkish, self-seeking predecessors, and also to think that amidst calls for conciliation and unity, there are still those who rather assert the need for intense security, that in it rather invokes fear and mistrust that also pave way to their perception of "peace based from silence" as what happened decades ago.

After all, the system-sponsored "peace based from silence" may have been truly peaceful at first, especially after everyone hears about curfew hours for juvenile delinquents, gun bans for civilian gun owners, absence of arguments around communities, police visibility in every streets, anything what they think as "able to walk on night in communities without any hindrance or fear"; but, as everyone remembers the horrors of 1972-1981 and its succeeding effects, with all its actions such as forced disappearances against alleged "subversives", and even laws against "rumor mongering", while at the same time hearing old yet relevant news about low wages for workers, increasing prices of goods for consumers, landlordism, and subservient to foreign-oriented policies, of what is peace if it aggravates old, clear, and present tensions against the people? Then if that's the case, that "peace that mimics those of the graveyard" is unjust, if not an illusion for that peace has nothing to do with people's aspirations and realising one's hopes and more of silencing those of clamor for rights, be it land, bread, and even peace!

It may sound strange if not awkward in this post, for it supposed to tackle about what goes on in that "State of the Nation Address", but demanding an all out peace based from justice, and a call to assert the agenda of the people to realise, then why not? After all, the issue on peace and social injustice has to be tackle and not limiting the issue of the nation on facts and figures and issues relevant to the eyes of compradores and landlords, SoNA should be for the people, particularly for the masses in the first place the way these protesters assert theirs that is just and clear for these well-dressed constituents!


All and all, people, be it from the government or from its opposition, hope that a just and lasting peace reign. And hope that peace is not a mere absence of fear or mere silence to pretend a semblance of order. That just and lasting peace has to do with a real and profound sense of justice, mercy, and compassion enough to fulfill people's tangible and intangible hopes.

But the good thing is this: less issues on traffic jams in a major thoroughfare such as Commonwealth avenue, less issues on garbage (since the ones who gather also cleaned the place itself, the event be less of a fashion show featuring well-made dresses for the legislators' spouses, if not telling the world how people are being thankful to themselves that Mar Roxas (known for his desperate stints for the presidency) is not the elected president or else, people see the typical such as few years ago.

And for sure people know what scenario is that.