Will there be true, meaningful peace?
By Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro
Back then, there are earlier writeups being made regarding the struggles for peace in the Philippines. Especially after the 41st years of struggle, or in government parlance may call it as an "Insurgency" against the rotten social order what the latter defend so. But for now, this writeup speaks of what is going on before and during the series of talks laid by Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Before the talks, both sides were quite optimistic about the said attempt to renew the talks after being stalled by the last administration and its series of atrocities laid upon to it. Good to say so but,
On the other hand, in midst of the talks, capture and detention of members of the left still continues as the AFP detained officals of the NPA, NDF Consultants, even members of the legal left all in the name of "counterinsurgency", often arrested with "arrest warrants" or rather say "excuses" justifying their actions. These actions, made by the AFP somehow disrupted the peace process that, they really wanted to pursue the conflict and treat the entire matter militarily, or in the late Cory Aquino's term as "Police Action" to end the "Problem" instead of socio-economic reforms and the like.
Noticing every event happened, it seemed that the talks became complicated. Yes, Jalandoni urged them to free the captives since the NPA also had prisoners of war in their areas if the GRP are really sincerely wanted to pursue the talks as possible. Yet, on the other hand, the GRP panel, despite its statements obviously wanted "capitulation" and "submission" like those of Ramos and the succeeding regimes, even Arroyo really wanted that way other than police actions like those of "Oplan Bantay Laya" I and II.
But still, the call for peace remains, alongside the call for meaningful, realistic social change to end the centuries-old crisis of the Pilipino society. All from socio-economic, political, cultural and other related aspects, the call for real peace are contrary to the statements what the system tried to understand to the people-yet they still pursue their actions badly as arrests, confinement, torture, even forced disappearances and other forms of state-sponsored terrorism is tolerated yet neglecting the entire problem what the society endured.
As according to Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Partylist, he said:
"Let it be said once again that wiping the NPAs, for example, off the face of the earth is not the key to peace. We should always go back to the fundamental issues. The road to peace can be laid only after the youth and people’s issues are substantially addressed. Peace will remain elusive if systemic violence continues to breed inequality, poverty, discrimination, and other forms of social injustices..."
True to speak but will the government really heed the words from our people? The military, whose conception of the left as a bunch of terrorists would disagree upon the issue and kept on venting a series of hecklings like Alcover and Palparan did! And speaking of the latter, would rather not to insist in having a peace process and advocating actions that are "bandit-like" and "anti-human rights" worser from what their enemies expected. "No to Peace Talk Yes to Surrender?" Or "No to Peace Talk yes to Murder?"
According to the earlier writeup, entitled "Vamos Ganando La Paz", it said:
"In summing these, the repressive measures made are aimed primarily at those who oppose the system whether as activists or as armed combatants...still branded as "enemy combatants", worse, as "criminals", "terrorists" and held indefinitely in military prisons without access to lawyers, enduring psychological and physical torture by the enemy."
AS evidenced by the recent arrests and other-related actions, sorry to say but is there really talks seriously undergoing? People wanted peace and change but will the order sincerely do so so is the NDF? The latter may do so like those of freeing the POWs and admitting their own errors while their enemies tolerate their actions that includes their banditry and corruption. Or in other words, the AFP's own codes of conduct and rules of war are too entirely different to the Disciplines laid by their worst enemy. These are all based on my observation so to speak, that in the realms of armed conflicts lies different conclusions: As their captives endure torture or being well fed.
After all, since the talks continue to be tackled upon on both sides, true to say that, in a society marred by poverty and state repression, real peace will be fulfilled as the system itself be destroyed by the people and replaced with a new one. Since we've endured years of repression living in a semifeudal, semicolonial society despite massive influx of modern-day technology courtesy of imports from abroad. All of us must notice how difficult life is that made carrying the gun an option to change the system-true, for history as its witness evidenced how people around the world would do anything by all means necessary just to change the society according to their will. Rizal may have opted the gun instead of being a sacrificial lamb the way Bonifacio did if he do so.
Sorry if I said so about it, since if the system kept on venting rage and deceit, then real peace cannot be commenced. After all, the revolution is advancing and the system remains rotten, full of repressive policies as expected, so why we should capitulate to their wishes then? Yes, the talks will continue but to capitulate? Perhaps not-since history itself hath proven so are the lessons being learned when it comes to the conflict and even the negotiating table.