Wishful thinking

President Rodrigo Duterte and members of the National Democratic Front Peace Panel

After saying that he still “has to talk to the NPA (New People’s Army),” by which statement he meant that the Government of the Philippines will have to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he’s not yet ready to do so. His latest statements on the fate of the stalled peace talks came after the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) declaration that, having rid Marawi City of the Maute group and recruited and trained more troops, it will now turn its attention to the NPA and “crush” it by the end of 2018.

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Same old, same old

PROBABLY with the approach of the new year in mind, but certainly because of the occasion, President Benigno Aquino III announced during the 75th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) a supposedly new counter-insurgency strategy meant, said AFP spokesmen, not only to defeat “the enemy,” but also to “win the peace.”

By “the enemy,” all Philippine governments since that of Ferdinand Marcos has meant the New People’s Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which commands it, and the alliance of various revolutionary groups known as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) of which the CPP is a part.

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The regime of mockery

Let’s not exaggerate. Retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon is not really as Senator Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal described him.

Senator Madrigal compared Esperon to Adolf Hitler and to Josef Stalin when she learned that Esperon had been appointed Presidential Peace Adviser. Esperon did have command of the Armed Forces. But he commanded no force as powerful as the Wehrmacht as Hitler did, or an army as vast as the Red Army Stalin used to defend Soviet soil.

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