The Davao City-Local Peace Committee (DC – PEACE) will continue to perform its tasks despite the termination by President Rodrigo Duterte of the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New Peoples Army (CPP-NDF-NPA).
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secre-tary Jesus Dureza announced the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP-NDf-NPA in line with the president’s directive.
“The direction of the national government with regards the cancellation of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the CPP-NDF-NPA has no effect on DC-PEACE,” Mayor Sara Duterte said in an interview at The Marco Polo, Davao yesterday.
Sara said the basis of the work of the DC-PEACE is the general welfare clause under the Local Government Code. She said the Committee will also continue to perform its mandate even after the President announced that the government will henceforth categorize the NPA as a terrorist organization.
“There is no sus-pension or cancellation of the DC-PEACE except if there is an official document about the terrorist tag coming from the president,” she said. So far, no such official document exists. “So, legally, we can continue to negotiate and talk with the NPA if they still want to talk to us,” she said.
The DC-PEACE earlier recommended to the mayor the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) versus the NPA during the holiday season.
The mayor appeared to consider this, given that such Yuletide ceasefires have been established in the past. Sara acknowledged that there should be an atmosphere of peace during Christmas since it is supposed to be a season of giving and forgiving.
The DC-PEACE com-mittee members scheduled a peace activity in the hinterlands between December 7 and 9. They sent an emissary to reach out to the three NPA leaders operating in the city prior to the December activity.
Sara said she will not mind a ceasefire or SOMO as long as the rebels reciprocate this by sincerity and goodwill.
The Committee is expected to work only until this month. If its efforts do not bear fruit, it will be terminated, according to City Hall. Lovely A. Carillo