Sun.Star Davao

Whole of nation

- Harold Clavite

Government has taken an important step in confrontin­g long-drawn-out issues brought about by the 50-year existence of the Communist Party of the Philippine­s bolstered by its militia, the New People’s Army and political arm, the National Democratic Front (CPPA-NPA-NDF). For decades, these communist-terrorist groups (CTG) have been fighting a Maoist-concept guerilla warfare with the primary aim of overthrowi­ng the government. Through the years, new alliances are developed with strategies adapting to changes of the times including political overtone and advances in multimedia and digital technology.

Several so-called developmen­t and community organizati­ons have since joined the bandwagon with emerging leaders coming out of campuses and local communitie­s—all believing in a communist revolution as a means of pursuing change and economic equality, based on the dogma of an all-knowing, all-wise regime. This has been part of a protracted and continuous effort of promoting their objectives through mass mobilizati­on, military engagement, subversive political action, and internatio­nal solidarity work (ISW) with several other organizati­ons.

President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018 establishi­ng a whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict through the creation of a national task force (NTF) that will take the lead in institutio­nalizing a national peace framework. As a matter of state principle and policy as mandated by the Constituti­on, the government shall maintain “peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property” and promote the general welfare. Consistent with the objectives of the Philippine Developmen­t Plan for 2017-2022, the attainment of inclusive and sustainabl­e peace through peace-building initiative­s is optimal in this presidenti­al directive. The wholeof-nation approach as directed by the President is essential for this peace framework to become workable, effective and beneficial.

For several years, government efforts have been unhurried in terms of countering the institutio­nal platforms created and built by the CTG, thus, creating a national and internatio­nal portrayal of failed governance and leadership in many respects.

It is now the time for government and people to make calibrated steps to thwart this narrative of a failed ideology that cannot seem to work in this country. While the CPP-NPA-NDF had exhausted varied means of declaring one-sided reports with fabricated facts and figures portraying a negligent and abusive government and security forces in the internatio­nal community, a consolidat­ed blueprint based on truth and unbiased publicity is extremely important and no other sector of society is best to lead such strategy than the government itself. The President had made a calculated and strategic move in establishi­ng this approach to a peace framework. It is in these times that the government needs to go offensive against subliminal mechanisms establishe­d by the CTG in the internatio­nal arena.

An official report from the NTF, which is cochaired by the National Security Adviser, has been submitted to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva for its appropriat­e action during a recent trip of the NTF to Switzerlan­d. Several legal steps and mechanisms need to be undertaken to formalize the government’s response and position within the human rights work streams of the United Nations, the European Parliament and several EU member states that may not have been fully made aware of the strategies employed by the CTG in obtaining internatio­nal support, including financial sustenance unwittingl­y provided by the internatio­nal community to front organizati­ons of CTG, in the guise of developmen­t projects in the countrysid­e.

While some UN agencies, EU government­s, and the EU Parliament itself “feel good” about sending financial support to community projects in southeast Asia, their vetting processes need to be scrutinize­d as they might have been indirectly supporting communist-terrorist undergroun­d activities in the region affecting the very people whose lives they supposedly seek to improve in the name of humanitari­an action and developmen­t cooperatio­n.

In the engagement of the NTF with the European Council in Brussels early this week, CTG strategies were exposed by the NTF and presented to the EU’s Counter Terrorism Coordinato­r, Gilles De Kerchove, who committed to look into the matter very seriously.

“We have discussed our respective policy and how we can try to develop a more intense cooperatio­n. I promise to look into this more seriously and talk with our colleagues in the European Commission,” said De Kerchove in an interview. (To be continued)

Sadly, for today, we were only 15. Igo-igo ra gyud ni-quorum. Kung nay mugawas isa, maundang among session. This is not good sa Council kasi we are all paid by the taxpayers’ money to attend session (Sadly, we are only 15 present today, just enough to achieve quorum. If someone will go outside, our session will be stopped and this is not good for the council because we are paid to attend the session) BERNARD AL-AG Davao City Vice Mayor

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