Building peace requires a conscious effort away from state terrorism

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The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros and its allied organizations express utmost support to the recently released joint statement of the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) that signified renewed endeavours to resume peace talks between co-belligerents in the on-going civil war in the country.

The Oslo Joint Statement is a genuinely positive stride to address the roots of the armed conflict. While the peace process still has a long and arduous road ahead, mutual efforts will shed light on issues that adversely affect Negrosanons and the entire Filipino people.

Even during the Duterte regime, Negrosanons bore the brunt of state terrorism and socioeconomic woes, now aggravated under the current Marcos regime.

Since the Duterte regime issued Memorandum Order 32 (MO32) along with Proclamations 360 and 374, and Executive Order 70 (EO70), it unleashed the AFP/PNP/NTF-Elcac combined against the Filipino masses. Reactionary state forces were cloaked with impunity and this emboldened them to commit even more crimes. Negros Island has become one of its killing fields wherein majority of the victims were civilians, mostly farmers and farm workers in the countryside, and hors de combat revolutionaries.

As justice continues to evade the victims of the Sagay massacre, Oplans Sauron 1 and 2, and other Sauron-like operations, Negrosanons likewise cry for justice for over 38,000 victims of human rights abuses on the island under the current Marcos regime.

Thus, the masses in Negros demand more than a mere declaration. Sincere actions must be shown by the Marcos regime to show its good faith in achieving genuine peace. Negrosanons expect that neoliberal schemes plaguing them such as reclamation projects, eco-tourism, destructive mining operations, and environmental plunder threatening lives and livelihoods will be stopped. Militarization of peasant communities that protect these projects and has resulted to numerous human rights violations must be ended, as well.

Furthermore, we urge the GRP to heed the long-demanded release of NDFP peace consultants and political prisoners. Of the current 778 political prisoners in the country, 139 or 20 percent of them are in Negros Island, while three NDFP peace consultants are from Negros—Ka Frank Fernandez, Ka Cleofe Lagtapon, and Ka Ramon Patriarca. Such actions must be expedited in pursuing and building the common notion for a society based on a just and lasting peace.

The Anti-Terrorism Law, as well as EO70 and MO32, must also be junked, and the ‘terrorist’ designation of the CPP-NPA-NDFP abrogated.

Considering the half-step forward, NDF-Negros calls on revolutionary mass organizations and various individuals, organizations and institutions who support the call for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks to remain optimistic but vigilant of the renewed peace building efforts. We must grasp the valuable lessons learned from peace negotiations with past reactionary regimes. Advancing the national democratic revolution through a protracted people’s war continues to be the only recourse to genuinely establish a society based on just and lasting peace.###

Building peace requires a conscious effort away from state terrorism