Peace and its price

By Aurora J. Casimpan

TACLOBAN CITY–The government of President Benigno Aquino is determined to end the 41-year-old insurgency in the country.

Previous presidents had also prioritized the achievement of peace for the nation.

Peacemakers have been banging heads as to how the forces against peace could possibly come together and come up with a win-win solution for the government and themselves.

But apparently, there would always be forces opposed to a peaceful existence for both sides.

Barely had the government peace seekers and leaders for the insurgents sat on the negotiating table when the talks was marred by the ambush of 10 soldiers including a nine-year-old boy. The attack took place two days before the holiday ceasefire between government troops and the New People’s Army takes effect from December 16 until January 3.

The Philippine government with head panel Alexander Padilla and the National Democratic Front spokesperson Luis Jalandoni met for a preliminary meeting for the peace talks in Hong Kong two weeks ago. Before the next meeting of the two entities could be agreed the ambush just had to happen.

The government simply shrugged off the ambush as an incident which could not be used to derail the fresh bid for both sides to forge a peace deal.

Presidential Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles issued a statement on the ambush stating “the Philippine government would like to emphasize that in spite of the incident, and with the full recognition and appreciation of the discipline and commitment of our security forces, we remain steadfast in our commitment to honor the agreed upon suspension of military operations.”

While the government is sincere in its efforts to end the insurgency, there are forces in the communist movement which are opposed to the end of insurgency. Such anti-sentiment was clearly sent through the ambush incident. It was no accident but a clear expression of opposition considering that preliminary talks on the peace process was underway and that cessation of hostilities was to start on December 16 until January 3 next year.

But the statement of Deles is an indication of government’s resolve to end the hostilities.

Violence cannot be cured by violence. The transgression of the NPAs should not be met by a retaliatory action. It will prolong the violence.

To quote the famous scientist Albert Einstein – “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” PIA

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