Terminated Peace Talks, Intensified Armed Conflict: What is to be done?

Terminated Peace Talks, Intensified Armed Conflict: What is to be done?[1]

By Soliman M. Santos, Jr.

Naga City, 27 May 2013

(On the 55th birth anniversary of the late Jesse M. Robredo)

For all intents and purposes, the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), as we have known it over the years since 1992, have effectively come to an end, at least under the current Aquino administration which still has three years left in its term. Well, that is just as well. Late last year, I had already personally gone on record through a 10-page article saying that it was better to just drop the charade of peace talks that were going nowhere due to their extremely tactical dynamics.[2] In the ensuing blame game that is still part of those counter-productive dynamics, the GPH is being blamed by the NDFP for unceremoniously terminating the talks purportedly to seek a “new approach” thereto. But under the circumstances, the GPH can be given some credit for this bold, if belated, move of dropping the charade even at the propaganda/public image risk of being blamed as responsible for terminating the talks.

But really, this peace process should no longer, even if it still could, continue to be conducted “in the old way” (to use revolutionary situation phraseology) that has made it a process of “perpetual division between the Parties.” The test of the pudding is in the eating, and the taste of the pudding has for the most part been bitter, sour and stale. A break or real vacation from this status of belligerency (or strategic stalemate), as it were, in negotiations should prove salutary in the medium to long term, if it becomes an occasion for all concerned to take serious pause and rethink things. Continue reading “Terminated Peace Talks, Intensified Armed Conflict: What is to be done?”