There is no more need for armed struggle
According to a Jan. 5 Inquirer news report, Silvestre Bello III, a former member of the government team negotiating peace with the National Democratic Front (NDF), said that political will is needed for the peace talks to succeed and no preconditions must be set for the resumption of the peace talks (“Ex-negotiator: Political will, sincerity key to peace talks,” Across the Nation).
I agree, except for that part that “no preconditions must be set.” The precondition should be a cease-fire on both sides, or that the communist fighters take at least a strategic defensive position. Jose Maria Sison should himself also show political will to stop the war.
I agree with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV: It would be a bad idea for President Aquino to meet with Sison. The communist leader enjoys political asylum from the Dutch government, but I believe the Philippine government should ask now for his extradition and he should be brought back to the Philippines so that he can answer for the numerous crimes committed under his command responsibility.
During the martial law years I myself sympathized with the New People’s Army (NPA). I believed then that only through armed struggle could we get rid of the dictator Marcos. I was even instrumental in Luis Jalandoni’s going to Holland and setting up the NDF office in Utrecht. Out of loyalty, I even became a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Never in my life would I have believed that I could do that. Neither would I have believed that I could leave the priesthood and marry a social worker in our parish in San Francisco, Agusan, who had lost her husband in the Antongalon massacre conducted by the NPA—and I legally adopted her six young children.
Times have changed. I believe that there is no need to go to Norway for the peace talks. The peace negotiations should be held at the local level, here in the Philippines where we can discuss the local issues in the area. For the national issues the communists can join the party-list groups and involve themselves in the parliamentary struggle. We have the Oplan Bayanihan of the military and it is up to us ordinary citizens to move the government to bring about the necessary changes in our Constitution. There is no need any more for armed struggle.
—ARNOLD VAN VUGT,
Cagayan de Oro City
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