The Manila Times : Marcos vows to continue talks with 'Reds'

17 February 2022

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said he would continue the dialog between the government and the communist rebels if elected as president.

Marcos added that the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) would lead the negotiations.

"Tuluy-tuloy ang problema, tuluy-tuloy dapat ang ating gawing peace talks hanggang magkaroon tayo ng talagang tunay na agreement ng kapayapaan (As the problem [of armed struggle] continues, we should continue the peace talks until we achieve a real peace agreement)," he said during a debate organized by the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) on Tuesday night.

"Kasama diyan ay ang Balik-Loob Program na ginagawa, ipagpatuloy natin 'yan na kasabay 'yung NTF-Elcac na nagiging very effective d'un sa ating paglaban dito sa problema na ito (That includes the Balik Loob Program, which should be continued, and the NTF-Elcac, which has become very effective in fighting this problem)," he added, referring to the task force's Barangay Development Program (BDP) that seeks to bring development to former conflict-prone communities.

The BDP includes the building of livelihood, irrigation and health stations, as well as farm-to-market roads.

Marcos stressed that the Constitution must be upheld at all times.

"Ang unang responsibilidad ng kahit sino na elected officials sa aming pagsusumpa is to defend and protect the Constitution (The first responsibility of any elected officials, upon taking our oath, is to defend and protect the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines) — and that includes the defense of our people and of our Republic," he said, adding that the state would not hesitate to use force to defend itself.

"Kaya't kung may lumalaban at gustong pabagsakin ang gobyerno eh kailangan depensahan ng estado, ng gobyerno ang sarili niya at ang kapakanan ng taong bayan (That's why if there are those who want to topple the government, we need to defend the state, the government itself as well as the welfare of the people)."

President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 70 in December 2018 institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach in attaining peace through the NTF-Elcac.

The peace talks between the national government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) have been intermittent since 1986.

Duterte tried to hold a series of peace talks with the NDF, but he terminated the negotiations on Nov. 23, 2017 following the relentless attacks of the New People's Army (NPA) against government troops and civilians.

He subsequently signed Proclamation 273, declaring the CPP-NPA as a terror group on Dec. 5, 2017.

The CPP-NPA has been listed as a terror organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Foreign policy:

– Open to security dialogues or agreements with other countries

– Will seek all avenues, including a shift to a multilateral approach, to tackle Manila's maritime dispute with Beijing

Peace talks:

– Will continue peace talks with communist groups

Education:

– Will strengthen public school system, support teachers, and develop school facilities and supplies

Food security:

– Will strengthen farming

Leodegario 'Ka Leody' de Guzman

Trade:

– Will focus on developing the Philippine industry

– Will curb importation of goods

Foreign Policy:

– Will end the Philippine military agreement with the US

– Will join non-aligned countries

– Will avoid associating with nations that will make the Philippines look like a pawn

– Will work together with the countries of Southeast Asia for the mutual development of their peoples

– Will use the country's victory in the International Tribunal and side with other countries that are being harassed by China

– Will push Unclos signatory countries to help curb Chinese harassment in the West Philippine Sea

Peace Talks:

– Will continue negotiations to end the communist rebellion

Agriculture/Food:

– Will prioritize the livelihood development of farmers and fishermen

Ernesto Abella

Food security:

– Will make the agriculture sector a mega-industry

Foreign policy:

– Will strengthen the military before the government can forge new agreements with other countries

Peace talks:

– Will push economic development and dialogues to resolve communist insurgency

Norberto Gonzales

Trade:

– Will impose policies to secure the value of goods

Education:

– Will provide the best quality of education

Foreign policy:

– Open to multiple bilateral talks with other countries

– Open to security alliances with other countries

Peace talks:

– Prefers peaceful ways to resolve insurgency

Food Security:

– Will revisit land reform laws to allow more land for agriculture