Absence of ceasefire should not hamper the peace process – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – “Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of social justice”
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) after President Rodrigo Duterte has put an end to the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Saturday after the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP have lifted their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson Fernando Hicap expressed disappointment over President Duterte’s arbitrary decision to end the ongoing peace negotiation with the NDFP which now tackles the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).
“We are dismayed by President Duterte’s hasty and impetuous decision to end the peace talks that the Filipino people have worked hard for. Instead of resolving poverty and injustice that fuel the civil war in the country, President Duterte only wants the people to capitulate from their just defiance. He obviously lacks deep understanding on the dynamics of the root cause and foundation of the decades-old struggle of the Filipino people,” Hicap said.
PAMALAKAYA said poverty, landlessness, hunger, injustice and gross human rights violations among the marginalized sector are the compelling reasons why there is an urgent need to attain the just and lasting peace in the country.
The fisherfolk group said genuine peace could not be achieved within the negotiating table if the GRP will continue to obey the dictates of those anti-peace high ranking government officials and military generals who work hand in glove to sabotage the peace. Hence, true peace lies within the hands of the Filipino people through their struggle.
“With or without peace talks, the Filipino people will continue to struggle for a genuine change that will lead to a just and lasting peace,” Hicap ended. ###