House party leaders from the administration and opposition ranks on Tuesday expressed support for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels.
“As the united voice of the House of Representatives, representing all political parties, we collectively express our unwavering support for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s initiative for peace and national unity. This historic move marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s journey towards lasting peace and sustainable development,” the joint statement read.
“It is a call for understanding, cooperation, and collective action towards a future where every citizen can live in harmony and prosperity… We are united in the belief that through dialogue, empathy, and mutual respect, we can overcome historical divides and build a more inclusive and peaceful nation,” they added.
Among the signatories of the statement are Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr., Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, and Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar.
The statement comes a day after Vice President Sara Duterte described the resumption of the peace talks as “making a deal with the devil.”
“Mr. President, the government’s statement with the NDFP in Oslo was an agreement with the devil,” Duterte said.
Duterte also said that history showed that the communist rebels were not sincere in pursuing peace and that they would only use the negotiations to betray the government and deceive the public.
“We appeal to your power to review these proclamations and agreements… Let us honor the memory of those who died in the senseless and bloody attacks of the NPA-CPP-NDFP,” said Duterte.
House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list denounced Duterte’s remarks.
“It is alarming that the Vice President has labeled the government’s recent statement with the NDF in Oslo as an ‘agreement with the devil’ and has expressed opposition to the grant of amnesty to former rebels. These statements reflect a lack of understanding of the complexities of the peace process and a disregard for the aspirations of the Filipino people for just and lasting peace,” said Castro.
“The remarks made by Vice President Sara Duterte are detrimental to the pursuit of genuine peace negotiations… She is undermining the efforts to address the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines,” added Castro.
She also said that the NDFP has demonstrated its commitment to engage in peace negotiations and it is imperative that all parties involved uphold sincerity and respect in these discussions.
“Instead of promoting war, we call on the Vice President and those she represents to support efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in the country,” she added.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Nov. 28 called on Filipinos to support the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines after the government and the NDFP signed a joint communique indicating an agreement to return to the negotiations.
In a statement, Marcos said the Philippine government had taken a “bold, meaningful, and optimistic” toward the country’s aspirations for peace. —VAL, GMA Integrated News
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