LIKE actors in an absurdist play, communist leaders are blaming the government for cancelling the fifth round of peace talks in The Netherlands on Sunday, even though they ordered their comrades in the New People’s Army mere days ago to step up their attacks on the military as a way of opposing the declaration of martial law.
President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law over the entire island of Mindanao on May 23 in response to a terrorist rampage in Marawi City by the Maute Group.
Two days later, communist leaders called on their armed wing, the NPA, to intensify attacks on government troops as a way of opposing Duterte’s declaration of martial law.
In a statement at the time, the CPP said armed resistance by the NPA was the “most effective way” of rejecting martial law.
“The Party calls on the NPA to plan and carry out more tactical offensives across Mindanao and the entire archipelago,” the CPP said.
“In the face of the Duterte regime’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, the necessity of waging revolutionary armed struggle becomes ever clearer,” it added, as it also urged the NPA to accelerate its recruitment of new fighters.
Remarkably, the communists acted as if their call to arms would have no effect on the coming peace talks just a few days down the road.
Chief rebel negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said the National Democratic Front, a coalition of leftist groups that includes the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA, “deeply regretted” the government’s decision to shelve the talks.
“The [government’s] decision not to participate in the fifth round of formal talks threatens to squander the goodwill and the gains that have already been achieved in the peace negotiations in the past nine months, especially in the crafting of a substantive agreement on social and economic reforms,” Agcaoili said.
The decision to cancel the talks, he added, was the government’s responsibility.
In an even more absurd twist, a senior adviser of the NDF, Luis Jalandoni, said the communist rebels were willing to work with the government against terrorists who attack and kill civilians.
“In that sense, the CPP-NPA would be together with the Duterte government in opposing the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf,” Jalandoni said.
Here then are the various positions the communists have taken over the last few days.
1) They are for peace, but they have ordered more armed attacks on the government with which they are negotiating.
2) They are willing to work with the government—presumably with the same troops they have vowed to keep attacking.
3) They oppose terrorists, but will attack government troops who are battling them, as a way to show they are unhappy with martial law.
Can anyone but a communist make sense of these absurd and contradictory positions?