Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Monday said he is open to dropping the terrorist tags against the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm, the New People’s Army (NPA) if they are willing to give peace another chance in the negotiating table.
The 47-year-old presidential candidate made the remark when asked by reporters in Lucena City, Quezon province if he is willing to remove the terrorist tag against the NDF-CPP-NPA as a confidence-building measure that will pave the way for the resumption of peace talks under an “Isko Moreno Domagoso presidency.”
“(The) terrorist tag is done by the United States and the Philippine government. Basta ako ‘yung peace talks we must seek for it as much as possible not only with the CPP-NPA but also to those other armed groups” Moreno, a former peace talks observers, said.
“In the meantime, if they are willing to talk and if they want a peaceful way of living, karapatan ng mga kapwa rin nating Pilipino na makapamuhay nang panatag at payapa. Nowadays it’s hard to find peace, sometimes a very expensive word but we must seek for long and just peace in our country because every Filipino deserves it,” he said.
The Manila mayor said the success of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), could serve as a possible inspiration for other armed groups such as the CPP-NPA to forge a lasting peace with the government.
“Kung ano yung napagtagumpayan sa BARMM, kasi ‘yun talagang nakita natin personally mukhang maganda na ang kinabukasan ng BARMM, ng mga kababayan nating Moro. So, hindi tayo dapat mawalan ng pag-asa. While it is true na hindi natin isusuko ang estado, mananatili ang isang pamahalaan, isang bandera lang ang Pilipinas,” Moreno pointed out.
“But, at the end of the day, ito ay mga kababayan tayo na maaring kailangan ng atensyon, kailangan may tenga, kailangan mapakinggan, but I hope when they come to the negotiating table, I hope they will meet us halfway, dapat hindi lang one-side para naman may matapos na. Tingin ko lahat ng bagay may tuldok. So I’ll pursue peace that but not at the expense of the state,” he said.
Moreno was an “official observer” during the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, a coalition of underground revolutionary organizations that are believed to be under the baton of CPP leaders based in the Netherlands.
It was during the series of peace negotiations he attended as an observer in the 2016 peace talks in Oslo, Norway, that Moreno was able to know CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and other top officials of the CPP and NDF.
Moreno said one of the ways for the peace talks to succeed is to ensure social programs and equal opportunity to the people, especially the less fortunate ones, that can be provided by the government.
“Maraming mga bagay na pwedeng mapagkasunduan, at iba sa mga hinihiling ng ating kababayan doon sa kabilang panig at kaya naman nang gawin ng gobyerno, ‘yung mga social programs, and so on, and so forth. ‘Yun naman lagi ang ipinaglalaban nila ‘yung pagkakapantay-pantay ng oportunidad at ‘yung batas na ipinaiiral para sa lahat. Tingin ko kaya namang gawin doon sa kanilang mga kasama and I think ginagawa naman ‘yon ng gobyerno at kaya pang yung i-extend. If we can do that to BARMM, to our fellow Moros in Mindanao, we can do it to any group of individuals who have resorted to armed struggle against the state” Moreno said.
“We must have an open mind and ears to try to listen to them and if they’re reasonable, why not? Ang pinakamahalaga namang equation eh ‘yung kapayapaang makamit nila, natin, o tayong lahat, ‘yon ang pinaka-endgame na gusto kung hopefully sa tulong nila, sa tulong ninyo, at sa tulong ng pamahalaan,” Moreno added.
Under Republic Act No. 10168, otherwise known as “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012,” terrorism has been recognized as inimical and dangerous to the country’s national security. Terrorism is, thus, condemned, including those who support and finance acts of terrorism.
R.A. 10168 further criminalizes the financing of terrorism. In particular, it freezes and forfeits the property or funds of those designated terrorists or terrorist organizations. This is done in order to prevent and suppress terrorist activities.
Declaring the CPP-NPA as a designated /identified terrorist organization is nothing new. On August 9, 2002, the United States also designated the CPP-NPA as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) and to date continues to include the CPP-NPA in its list of FTOs.
Moreno and the rest of Team “Isko” returned to Quezon province to continue their campaign sorties through a combination of motorcades and townhall meetings. Moreno was with his running mate Dr. Willie Ong, Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial bets Dr. Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc and Jopet Sison and guest candidate John Castriciones. #