Galvez asks Joma Sison: Are you for genuine peace?
By Prince Golez
Is Mr. Sison for genuine peace?
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. raised this question to exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison after the latter warned against President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to create a “war panel.”
In a speech delivered in Bukidnon last Saturday, Duterte hinted at creating a military-led peace panel to negotiate with communist insurgents in the country.
“Through the formulation of the new panel, government will be directly engaging the people on the ground to address the fundamentals of the problem,” said Galvez on Monday.
He explained that the panel will oversee the localized peace engagements and act as the adviser for local peace dialogues through the establishment of protocols and other legal and systematic procedures.
This, according to him, includes the vital component of a security lens in this process, thus the need for former military men to be part of the panel.
Galvez told Sison, who left the Philippines in the 1990s, that the planned five-member peace panel is in line with the whole-of-nation approach as embodied in Executive Order (EO) 70 aimed at addressing the root causes of the problem.
EO 70, issued by Duterte in December last year, established a national task force headed by the President and vice-chaired by the National Security Adviser to end the local communist armed conflict in the country.
“The government has learned its lessons, albeit the hard way, from the previous formal negotiations that produced lopsided agreements that are not totally beneficial to the people,” the former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief said.
In his statement released to reporters, Galvez claimed that Sison and his cohorts have been using the Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Security and Immunity Guarantee as “tools to delay the resolution of the integrals of the conflict,” as well as the previous peace agreements “to meet their objective of overthrowing the legitimate government.”
“Through the localized peace engagements, the government is creating the enabling environment for the peace process to progress and move forward,” he said, adding that “The new framework will provide practical, rational, and objective principles of local peace engagements that will end the manipulation and deception against the government and the people. This paradigm shift is the result of historical facts and lessons derived from the previous talks.”
The peace adviser underscored that the essence of the peace process is based on “mutual trust and understanding” and its end goal is “to create a just, harmonious, and peaceful society and conflict-resilient communities.”