The National Coordinating Council (NCC) of Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) expressed its deep concern after President Rodrigo Duterte released Proclamation 360 on November 23 declaring the termination of the peace negotiation between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
During PMPI’s second NCC meeting held last 22-24 November in Talisay, Negros Occidental, members of the board stated that such action will increase vulnerability of communities to military and the New People’s Army (NPA) clashes on the ground.
PMPI members anticipate and fear that the recent declaration of the President will only facilitate the escalation of attacks on the ground which can result to increasing human rights violations and displacement of families and communities. We expect damaged environments, wrecked infrastructures, and unfortunately more sufferings to the already broken families and communities.
Proclamation 360 has become the torch that finally burned down all the hopes and trusts built bridging the gains from the past four rounds of talks to some political settlement between the GRP and the NDFP. Further, it is also seen that the same will ignite feeling of hatred and retribution from groups that are passionately pushing for change.
While there has been slow progress in the negotiations, it is still the more viable option available for all than closing any venue for dialogue. While there are different ideologies and reasons for engaging in the talks, such negotiation is better than pointing guns to one another randomly taking the lives and consequently destroying the livelihoods of people living peacefully in the mountains and countryside.
We, at PMPI, call on President Duterte to urgently consider going back to the negotiating table and resume talks. Without such venue, we can only listen to the sound of gunshots and witness the dripping blood of people on the ground, but not the reason, desperation, anguish, and the lost hope of the person behind the gun.
MR. PRESIDENT, LET’S GIVE THIS PEACE TALK ANOTHER CHANCE.
PMPI MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS