Same wavelength

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Monday, January 6, 2014

THIS time, a previous column “The color red” received a feedback from Judge Soliman M. Santos Jr. of the 9th Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Nabua-Bato, Camarines Sur.

Judge Soli (or Sol) is a well-known writer, national peace and human rights advocate before he took to the bench and became His Honor. Are peace and human rights advocates on the same wavelength with an armed protagonist?

Here are excerpts from his well-thought if a bit lengthy reply. Can the Philippine State and the National Democratic Front be on the same wavelength on peace building and respect for human rights?


Here are Sol’s take on finding these wavelengths between the two parties. I will have to find space and time to include his thought left out in this piece.

“I like your tack of finding common ground (or zones of possible agreements, with the nice acronym ZOPAs) for Filipinos, even in the color red (I like your invocation of Valentine red) and its symbolism of love – for the people as common ground.

“As you said, ‘that’s what the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front strive to achieve.’ But for some reason several decades at peace talks (though actually more off than on) have not achieved it, notwithstanding early supposedly common grounds in a framework agreement (The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992) and in a substantive human rights agreement (CARHRIHL of 1998).

“Why despite those supposedly common grounds? We say ‘supposedly’ because they constantly bicker even about those common grounds like in the framework Hague Joint Declaration – which the GPH has already called a ‘document of perpetual division between the Parties.’

Over the decades there has been nil or inadequate ‘goodwill and confidence-building.’ There has been inadequate creation of ‘a favorable climate for peace negotiations.’ The blame, if we must lay it, can be safely spread over both sides. This goes for questions of sincerity in the peace negotiations.

“A problem (however) is the CPP-NPA-NDFP’s doctrinaire leadership and adherence to the Maoist protracted people’s war (PPW) strategy with armed struggle as the main or principal form of struggle and with peace negotiations only as a tertiary tactic serving that strategy.

“PPW is no less than one of the 10 basic principles REAFFIRMED by the CPP’s Second Great Rectification Movement. The current standing call of the CPP-NPA leaderships…is to go for the strategic stalemate stage of the PPW within the next several years.

“So, it would seem like talking to a red brick wall to try to address the doctrinaire CPP leadership the way you propose (it). But then nothing would be lost in trying and, come to think of it, sometimes miracles happen as they say the transcendent works in mysterious ways.

“My own use of ‘the color red’ approach like yours was to refer to the costly (red) blood-letting of ‘the best sons and daughters of the people’ on both sides (as another common ground of sorts).
“For this [the service of the people, for the betterment of the country, and even for needed radical changes], there has to be another, less costly way than armed struggle as the main form of struggle.

“And we are not speaking of surrender, capitulation or cooptation of the national-democratic cause or program. Of course, the state or ruling system must also do its part of the politico-military equation. An honest-to-goodness peace process is one forum to sort this out, including arrangements for the revolutionary Left’s viable politico-electoral participation.

“This entails sincere and serious engagement in peace negotiations as a strategy and not just a tactic – on the part of both the CPP-NPA-NDFP and the government.”

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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 06, 2014.


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