Localized Peace Talks But a Diversionary Ploy
Localized dialogues rather than localized talks could be conducted between the Local Government Units and the revolutionary National Democratic Front (NDF), although peace negotiations could be done on the national level given the fact that local peace processes cannot be conducted because everybody knows that this cannot resolve a very basic issue.
In fact, the talks concretely are being done on a national level.
Since local peace talks cannot resolve the gut issues involved in peace negotiations which only national peace negotiations can, dialogues such as ceasefires during natural disasters or calamities, stoppage of conflicts temporarily during the turnover of Prisoners of War (POW) can be done.
This came about when the widely-offered peace dialogues between the provincial government-military and Police combined and the local NDF was proposed by the military and Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr.
But the comprehensive peace settlement with the rebels cannot be achieved by localized peace talks, declared Casiño.
On the national peace talks, it is unfortunate because the government does not really want a successful conclusion to the peace process and a final settlement with the rebels.
The national government does not really want a final peace settlement with the rebels which consists of the eking out of an agreement on genuine agrarian reform.
This is because any final political settlement will result in changes to economic policies now presently obtaining mainly control of the US and other foreign countries of the Philippine economy. There will also be changes in the political aspects of governance.
On the economy for one, the rebels do not want the uncontrolled exploitation of our natural resources especially unbridled mining operations.
Too, the government must change fundamental economic and political policies which will ensure that genuine power will reside in the people and will not solely be exercised by the elites.
Genuine change would result in a sincere ceasefire agreement which the government is avoiding. It merely wants a ceasefire because it will redound to its advantage, said Casiño.*