The case for CASER

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If the between the armed forces of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and those of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) officially and finally ends as a result of the peace talks between these adversaries, Rodrigo Roa Duterte will secure a place in history as the most effective president the Philippines has ever had since the restoration of independence in 1946. It will mean that the most extensive reforms of Philippine society shall have been implemented, the end of the longest-running civil war in Asia being contingent on the elimination of its causes.

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Exercises in futility

Duterte with soldiers
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At about the same time that the peace panels of the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) were concluding back channel talks in Utrecht, the Netherlands, during which they agreed to return to the negotiating table, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was bombing communities in areas whose residents, it believes, either harbor the New People’s Army (NPA) or are supportive of it in various ways.

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Self-fulfilling prophecy

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The unfortunately named Magdalo group — the Magdalo was the Katipunan faction that murdered Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna — identified with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has a point. It doesn’t do anyone any good for the Philippine government (GPH), particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and President Rodrigo Duterte on the one hand, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the other, to be throwing accusations at each other at this time when the peace talks between them have been suspended and are in grave danger of once again being abandoned, as they were during the Corazon Aquino, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III administrations.

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The peace talks challenge to the media

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As peace negotiations are resumed between the Philippine government and the armed social movements that for decades have been fighting for autonomy or social change, accurate and reliable information on these conflicts has become an even more critical factor in citizen capacity to contribute to the resolution of, among others, the “Bangsamoro problem” and the 47-year guerrilla war being waged by the New People’s Army (NPA) under the joint leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

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The usual suspects: a cautionary tale

On Valentine's Day and eve of GPH-NDFP formal peace talks: A call to release all political prisoners (Arkibong Bayan)
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ALTHOUGH HE has yet to be inaugurated as the 16th President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has already met with the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). His presumptive peace negotiators also met with the leaders of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last June 15 in Oslo, Norway, to discuss the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDFP by July this year.

The meeting with the NDFP has been described as cordial and open, and that with the MNLF and the MILF as one “among brothers.” Although part of the agenda in the Duterte meeting with the MILF was the incoming administration’s commitment to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which has been in limbo since 2015 because of the Mamasapano incident and the refusal of Congress to act on it, the meeting with the biggest groups that have been involved in the Mindanao conflict was also meant to resolve such other issues as the MNLF’s resistance to the BBL and the tension between it and the MILF.

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Four cabinet posts do not communism make

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: Rody Duterte Facebook Page)
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IT MAY STILL BE weeks before his inauguration as the 16th president of the Philippines, but President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has already generated enough controversy to occupy the country for the rest of the year through (1) his declaration that he would pursue peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and release all political prisoners as a confidence-building measure; (2) his subsequent meeting — described as “cordial” by observers — with NDFP emissaries; and (3) his alloting four Cabinet posts to individuals from, or nominated by, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

During the campaign for the presidency, Duterte also declared that he was a “socialist” and that if elected he would be the first “leftist” president of the Philippines. Days before election day, he also presided over the release of several policemen who had been captured by the New People’s Army (NPA), while later engaging in a friendly long-distance conversation with his former professor, CPP founding chair Jose Ma. Sison.

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