Lorenz Niel Santos: Philippines and communist rebels take one big step toward peace (Asia Times)
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) started their armed struggle against the government in 1968. Due to corruption, lack of land reform and development in rural communities during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, peasant leaders and even students went up the mountains to join the armed struggle.
The peaceful revolt in 1986 that overthrew Marcos did not deter the communist insurgents from their fight against the government.
During the time of President Corazon Aquino, a 60-day ceasefire was declared. However, peace negotiations remained at standstill until 1992.
From 1992 to 1995, during the term of President Fidel Ramos, four agreements were signed during exploratory talks including the Joint Agreement between the GRP and the NDF on safety and immunity guarantees or JASIG and the Agreement on the Ground Rules of the Formal Meetings between the GRP and the NDF panels.
Then, from 1995 to 2004, 14 agreements were signed during peace negotiations.
In 2004, the NDF withdrew from the negotiating table after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supported the US’ war on terror and NDF’s armed component was included in the US’ terrorist list.
Highlight of the latest talks is the unilateral ceasefire and the goodwill shown by President Duterte in ordering the release of more than 20 NDF consultants facing charges including murder in various courts. They were allowed to leave the country and participate in the talks.
Leftist groups are hoping that the release of 21 NDF consultants who were able to join the peace talks, could lead to the release of more than 540 political prisoners.
Alister Doyle: Philippines and communist rebels sign ceasefire deal (Asia Times)
The Philippines government and Maoist-led rebels agreed indefinite ceasefires on Friday as part of an accord to accelerate efforts to end a conflict that has lasted almost five decades and killed at least 40,000 people.
The government expressed hopes that a peace agreement could be reached within a year after the Oslo talks, the first formal meeting for five years. The guerrillas, who reiterated demands for “revolutionary change”, stopped short of setting a deadline.
Ben Tesiorna: Peace talks between GPH, NDF may continue in Davao City (CNN)
There’s a big possibility that talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) will be held in Davao City, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said on Monday. Bello is concurrent chair of the government’s peace panel.
Bello said this may happen after a second round of talks in Oslo, Norway scheduled for October 8 to October 12. However, he did not specify when further negotiations will happen.
He said the Philippines is prepared to host future rounds of talks and would welcome the self-exiled leaders of the NDF and the Communist Party of the Philippines back in the country.
Germelina Lacorte: NDF hails Duterte’s bashing of US (Inquirer)
The National Democratic Front (NDF) lauded President Duterte’s anti-US statement, calling it “unprecedented” even as the rebel group urged the President to junk unequal agreements with the US.
“The National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao commends President Duterte for his unprecedented statement,” said the statement signed by Rubi deal Mundo, spokesperson of the NDF in Southern Mindanao. “No other Philippine president has ever publicly censured and taken US imperialism to task for its atrocious crimes against sovereign nations and peoples of the world.”
The NDF said that the US, accustomed to high regard as a colonial master, only has “had nothing but blind kowtowing from previous Philippine puppet regimes,” referring to the previous administrations.
“Now at this critical time of its decisive hegemonic pivot to Asia and China’s challenge to its regional dominance, US imperialism’s sham ‘concern for human rights is being challenged with open hostility by a government it considers its reliable lackey,” the statement said, referring to the Philippines.
Obama and Duterte ‘exchange pleasantries’ after ‘son of a whore’ insult (Guardian)
Joe Torres: Bishops welcome Philippine peace talks progress (Union of Catholic Asian News)
Catholic bishops have welcomed an “indefinite ceasefire” declared by communist rebels following the first round of talks aimed at ending almost half a century of Maoist rebellion in the Philippines.
Gary Leupp: Hope for the Philippines? (CounterPunch)
There seems reason to believe that Duterte, unlike any of his predecessors, is genuinely anti-imperialist. More than that, and quite surprisingly, he has expressed admiration for the Communist Party of the Philippines, and its guerrilla New People’s Army, that has been at war with the Philippines state for almost 50 years. He was actually a student of Jose Maria Sison, the party’s founder who has been in Dutch exile since 1987, in the 1960s; the two have been in touch and remain friends…
Washington, on the other hand, views the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the New People’s Army, as “terrorists.” Just as the U.S. views all left-wing armed movements as terrorists (unless and until they can be used for common purposes, as in the case of the Iranian MEK in Iraq). In 2002 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell took the unprecedented step of blacklisting the estimable Sison personally as a “terrorist” and the U.S. (spurred by then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) was surely behind the Dutch authorities’ raid on his house and his brief detention in 2007 on suspicion of ordering two murders in the Philippines the year before. (He was cleared of the charges and released.)
While cozying up to the Filipino Communists, Duterte has unexpectedly responded to the World Court’s judgment in favor of the Philippines’ South China Sea territorial claims over those of China, not with a tighter embrace of the U.S. and cooler relations with China, but with outreach to Beijing. Duterte has made it clear he sees China more positively than the imperialist U.S., which seized the Philippines as a colony following the Spanish-American War of 1898, slaughtered one-tenth of the Filipino people suppressing their resistance to colonization between 1899 and 1901, acquired total control over the Filipino economy and largely retained it after according the Philippines formal independence in 1946.
Prashanth Parameswaran: Can the Philippines’ Brash Duterte Also Be a Peacemaker With Communist Rebels? (World Politics Review)
Karen Lema, Manuel Mogato: Over 1,900 killed in ‘chilling’ Philippines war on drugs (Asia Times)
More than 1,900 people, or about 36 per day, have been killed in a violent campaign against drugs in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte came to office seven weeks ago, the country’s national police chief said on Tuesday.
Christina Lin: US apologizes to Laos over cluster bombs, then sells them to pound Yemen (Asia Times)
CIA’s nine-year secret war had made Laos the most heavily bombed country in human history. During his visit to that country on Sept 6, US President Barack Obama talked to local students, people and officials about America’s moral obligation to help Laos heal. Just three days later, the White House approved another $1.15 billion arms package to Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemenis who will have to suffer similar consequences for decades.