Pacete: Localized peace talks

Ver F. Pacete

ON AND off. On and off. This may sound funny as far as the peace negotiations with the communist rebels are concerned. The bottom line is sincerity…unfeigned. It should be genuine, wholehearted, without pretending. I call it four-square!

Again, President Duterte expressed openness for the resumption of the peace talks. Some political observers said that this “openness” could also mean “close-open, close-open.”

That could still go back to sincerity and how it is interpreted by the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF. This peace talk process is like courtship. President Digong and the CPP founding chairman are playing “hard to get.”

Sison wants no preconditions. The government lists seven conditions that Reds must meet to revive talks. Is this another political poker at the expense of the Filipinos? If we attain peace in this country, all of us will have peace of mind and emotional tranquility.

Some schools of thought are pushing that if the Duterte-Sison peace negotiation is impossible, then… let’s have localized peace talks.

There are some concerns that need the attention of the national leadership but there are also concerns in our provinces and regions that could be effectively attended to by the local leaders.

Here in Negros, for example, we don’t need a Lorenzana or a Dureza to solve our conflicts. Our local officials and church leaders can sit down with the rebels and settle things like brothers and sisters.

What conflicts can be settled in Negros Occidental? Some hacienda workers join the rank of NPA because there are some “hacenderos” who are not paying their laborers based on what the laws say.

In some “haciendas,” the living condition is not appropriate for human beings… substandard houses for workers, no proper water source, social attention has not been provided, and the “amo-obrero” relationship is bad.

We understand that we have plenty of good leaders in the province. We also understand that some local officials have “alleged involvement” in graft and corruption, illegal gambling, illegal drugs… and run the “municipio” as if it is their own hacienda.

CPP-NPA-NDF hate political leaders who have fashioned themselves to be anti-people.

Some big industries in towns and cities have laudable projects for big income generation that benefits the government and the business sector. Behind the scene, the environmentalists see the destruction of our natural resources.

Our ecotourism program has been bastardized because of the additional greed of those who are greedy already. Our rebels do not like that.

Our policemen are there “to serve and to protect” not to become the bodyguards of the politicians and the “sacred cows” of the business world, illegal drug trade, and gambling firms.

“To serve and to protect” calls for the highest sense of service for the “common tao” who are small taxpayers and they also want to feel the maximum service of the men in uniform.

CPP-NPA-NDF wants to see also a restructuring of our education system.

The end-goal of Philippine education is not just to provide raw labor to industrialized countries but to provide graduates who could be the partners of the world in scientific ventures, high-end economic endeavor, free enterprise, and other purposeful undertakings.

The government has a role to play here. Deserving budding entrepreneurs should be provided financial assistance and technical backing.

All government agencies in the province and in the region should have a collaborative scheme so that our best graduates will no longer go to Manila.

Our political leaders should create more favorable employment climate in the province.

Our brother rebels would want to see an “honest-to-goodness” barangay and SK elections. This will be a test of the maturity of our Negros politicians.

If we start a “money election” during the barangay and SK elections, then we can expect that in 2019… we can have a “monkey-riot election” managed by a zoo Comelec.

These are simple and doable things that we could start to reform and convince our local rebels to gradually lay down their arms and join mainstream society.

Those who run the government simply need to be sincere. “Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. If the government is ill, good men will cure it.”

If we are not willing to start with this, then the rebels will just be there always. The battle on the planet of the apes will continue. One day, we will just wake up that we are already in a jungle civilization.

We cannot afford to be barbaric in Negros.
We do not want to experience antagonism wherein brothers are fighting against brothers. Let us start an honest and sincere negotiation for peace. We start in Negros!