Raising ceasefire as precondition can be prejudicial to peace talks, says KMP

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today warned that the ceasefire issue can be prejudicial to the peace talks, appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte not to use the issue of ceasefire as a precondition to the peace negotiations.

“President Duterte should learn from past administrations that used and abused the ceasefire issue as a precondition to peace talks. The ceasefire question is the very same issue capitalized by past administrations that led to the collapse of the negotiations,” says KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

“It appears that militarist hawks in government are once again pushing for a ceasefire instead of addressing the roots of the armed conflict, like landlessness and other forms of semi-feudal exploitation,” says Flores noting that “raising the ceasefire issue can be prejudicial to the negotiations without addressing the war from its roots.”

Flores said “using the ceasefire as a precondition to the peace talks is like putting the cart before the horse.”

“Farmers are taking the road of armed revolution mainly due to the continuing land monopoly and land-grabbing by big landlords and plantations, and the lingering semi-feudal exploitation,” Flores said noting that “a genuine truce, a cessation of hostilities, shall come only after the roots of war are seriously addressed.”

“A just peace cannot be achieved through a ceasefire or by mere laying down of arms,” he said.

After the President’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, the KMP chair Joseph Canlas said that “while farmers welcome Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration with the CPP-NPA-NDF, it should translate to the demilitarization of rural communities and the countryside.”

“We demand the AFP to immediately pull out its troops, abandon our community schools and barangay halls and dismantle military detachments from our farm lands. At the same time, the absence of any presidential directive on land reform is a call to farmers to mainly rely on the peasant mass movement and struggle including the peace negotiations, in their assertion of their right to the lands,” says Canlas. #