By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Wednesday said the capitol would pursue its plans to forge a peace agreement with communist rebels in the province through local negotiations.
Emano said this even after the Communist Party of the Philippines flatly rejected proposals of localized peace talks.
The CPP has expressed confidence that all New People’s Army units on the ground were firmly united under a central leadership even as it reiterated its position that a “no is a no” to the localized peace talks being pushed by the Duterte administration.
Despite the rejection, Emano said the capitol would continue to explore the possibility of starting peace talks between the provincial government and the NPA.
“Let’s give it a try,” said Emano who has asked his father Vicente, a former governor and mayor, to head the capitol’s peace negotiations group.
Vice Gov. Jose Mari Pelaez, who chairs the provincial board’s peace and order committee, said the CPP pronouncement was “very unfortunate” given that Emano has tasked his father to lead capitol negotiators.
He appealed the CPP to reconsider its position, and allow the NPA leaders in Misamis Oriental to sit in the negotiating table with the elder Emano.
Pelaez said he was saddened because “people deserve to live in peace” and, “We need to promote peace in Misamis Oriental to foster development.”
Emano said, “Sige lang, suway pa gihapon ta basin diay, kay wa man mawala sa pagsuway.”
Emano said the armed conflict has lasted for decades, and the insurgency problem has been hurting the capitol’s tourism development and promotion efforts.
He said, “Ang lahutay ug malinawon nga kasulbaran maoy atong gipangita pamasin nga pinaagi sa local sabut-sabut magsilbi kining pabilo alang sa kalinaw.”
In a recent statement, the CPP said its entire leadership, along with the national command of the NPA and all revolutionary forces under the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, firmly rejected the proposed localized peace talks.
“To the power-fuddled brains in Malacañang — rejection might feel alien to the Yes-men like you, but a ‘no’ is a no,” it said, adding that the local NPA commands across the country have already rejected the local talks while other regional and local commands are to issue their own statements.
The CPP also lambasted presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who said the local peace efforts are aimed at “fighting insurgents on the ground and not their alleged leaders living comfortable lives in Europe.”
“Roque vainly hopes to sow intrigue among the revolutionary forces by harping on the worn-out fairy tale about the ‘comfortable lives’ of the NDFP’s representatives abroad, when in fact, it is he and his fellow bureaucrats with fat wallets in Malacañang who are so alienated from Philippine realities,” it said.
The CPP said the localized peace talks fail just like the Davao City Peace Committee created by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte last year to meet and negotiate with communist guerrillas.
“Even Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City had given up on her pet project of local peace talks knowing how foolish she would appear talking to her own shadow,” it added.
The CPP claimed that what the masses demand is not local peace talks but an end to Duterte’s total war against civilians, aerial bombings, the alleged military occupation of communities, sham campaign of forcing people to enlist as surrenderers, widespread killings and other abuses. (with reports from Mindanews)