#AnimatED: All hands on deck for peace
If plans push through, Congress will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law first quarter of this year, a major step towards achieving elusive peace in Mindanao. President Aquino personally handed the proposed law to leaders of Congress last year in a historic ceremony in Malacañang.
While peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front appears to be within reach, the same cannot be said of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Alex Padilla, who has bowed out as chief negotiator of the government, admitted in all candor that talks with the CPP are a “futile effort” because its leaders are not really after a political settlement but only use the peace negotiations to gain concessions.
Still, over the holidays, as the CPP marked its 46th anniversary on December 26, 2014, it announced “ongoing peace negotiations” with the government. This confirmed what Teresita Quintos Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, had earlier hinted at.
In what was a show of goodwill, the government sent an emissary to a CPP lair in Surigao del Sur on the day of its anniversary to pursue the resumption of talks which had been broken a number of times in the past 3 decades. (READ: Nani Braganza holds talks with CPP leaders) ) This, in the midst of a series of attacks the New People’s Army, the CPP’s military arm, launched against the military and police.
Despite being an ideological orphan, the CPP continues to be active in parts of the country. In fact, it is Asia’s longest-running insurgency and its roots run deep – in poverty and injustice.
Will the renewal of talks, supposedly scheduled after the papal visit in January, lead again to another impasse?
Government needs to finally end the communist insurgency by pushing more aggressive anti-poverty programs sharply targeted at rebel strongholds; rallying the solid support of local governments to sustain these programs and, at the same time, refraining them from sleeping with the enemy; blending the soft (heart and minds) and hard (military) approaches; and beefing up the military to enable it to achieve a decisive victory or string of victories.
The communist rebels’ strength has already dwindled; the military estimates their current armed force at 4,000, down from 25,000 at its peak in the 1980s. But the guerillas continue to be a threat. They are unrelenting in their long-term aim to seize power and take over government.
The country cannot continue to live with an anachronism. After all, it has been more than 20 years since the Cold War ended. – Rappler.com