Philippines

Peace talks should be a poll issue

Peace talks should be a poll issue
By Filane Mikee Cervantes

MANILA(Philippines News Agency) — The peace process should be among the leading topics not just for the May 2019 midterm elections, but also in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls next month, a progressive lawmaker said on Monday.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said aspiring candidates should take up the matter of the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a central campaign issue.

“They should work and support measures that will address the root causes of the nearly five-decade old communist-led armed rebellion in our country,” Zarate said.

“For starters, we call on those running in the barangay and SK polls to express their active support, not just mere lip service, for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” he added.

Zarate also urged the voters to reject in the polls candidates who are against the peace talks, describing them as “hawks” and “warmongers”.

“Most likely these candidates are promoters, too, of other anti-people programs and policies,” he said.

“At this crucial juncture, every venue and opportunity to support the peace talks should be maximized. The election is one of these venues, an appropriate field to distinguish the doves from the hawks,” Zarate said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier said he wants to give peace negotiations with the communist rebels “another last chance.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President is only willing to resume peace talks under three conditions — an absolute ceasefire, cease and desist from collecting revolutionary taxes, and a no-coalition government. (PNA)

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