Davao Mayor Sara’s Stand On Peace Talks With Reds Gains Support

Both the Davao Region Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Davao Region Development Council (RDC) have expressed support to the stand of Mayor Sara Z. Duterte against the reopening of negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

In a statement on Monday by the Regional Task Force–Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC), Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, RPOC chairperson, and Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyrone Uy, RDC-11 chairperson, said they are proposing for a joint RPOC-RDC resolution expressing the stand of the two regional bodies against the re-opening of peace negotiations with the rebels.

Last December 23, Mayor Sara cautioned the government against reopening talks with the CPP-NPA after a string of deadly attacks believed to have been perpetrated by the rebels.

Sara also asked the national government to exclude this city from the Christmas truce, which began on December 23 until January 7.

Dayanghirang said he believes that the peace negotiations with a rebel group “already tagged as a terrorist organization would not be a favorable move for our government as they will only use this window as a means to strengthen their forces and gain their foothold amid the impending lifting of the ceasefire agreement”.

He noted that during the past year, Davao Region has already made progress on peace and order, specifically the localized implementation of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 instituting a “whole-of-nation” approach in tackling the decades-old communist rebellion.

“As such, we could not afford our momentum to be halted and have all our efforts go down the drain,” he said.

RPOC reported that the RTF-ELCAC, formed through EO 70, brought out programs and initiatives “that have resulted into declining mass base support to numerous rebel returnees from zero recruitment in most areas,” and reduced number of violent incidents and attacks by the CPP-NPA.

“We strongly believe on the President’s genuine intention to end the long-running Communist insurgency and we remain committed in our oath to continue to push for initiatives, reforms, and programs that will benefit our Dabawenyo constituents and to foster true and lasting peace in this part of our country”, Dayanghirang said.

Dayanghirang and Uy also proposed that peace engagements be pursued and done at the local level with the local government units taking the lead in the localized peace process. (PNA)

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