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Dealing a last card

January 14, 2020 - Tuesday 4:01 AM by MDM

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The offer for the Communist Party of the Philippines to take the road to peace comes at a most opportune time when no less than the Philippine President himself is desirous of it.

It seems that having gone this far, President Rodrigo Duterte wants to see it through. It was not his intention, as his predecessors did before him, to leave unfinished business and then pass the buck to whoever will succeed him after he steps out in 2022.

If peace with the group of Jose Ma. Sison can be achieved, it will mark a historic breakthrough for the Philippine government. It will also end decades of insurgency that has killed thousands of Filipinos and stunted development in the countryside.

Hence, as Duterte would himself describe it, this offer to negotiate constitutes a last card.

We are at this point clueless on the kind of package Duterte has in mind that will induce Sison’s group to sit at the negotiating table.

“I cannot talk about it (now). You’ll find out when the time comes,” said President Duterte.

He also revealed that he had sent Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Netherlands to talk to Sison’s group.

For certain, power-sharing is out of the question. Under no condition will the Philippine government cede power or territory to a group that has sought its demise or dissolution.

And for all intents and purposes, Sison’s armed guerillas constitute a diminishing ragtag band of armed men scattered in boundary areas, unable to hold on to a single barangay.

The only option left for Sison’s group is to turn a new leaf and to contribute their talents in developing the countryside and in putting an end to poverty and corruption. Peace is not only the absence of conflict but the removal of its root causes.
 

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