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Rough Cuts | Give peace efforts another try

A report emanating from Manila over the week-end said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) respects the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to re-open the botched peace talks with the
communist rebels.

But last Tuesday we received a text blast from one identifying himself to be a certain Boy Esog demanding that the CPP/NPA/NDF stop their extortion, killings, attacks and recruitment of children first before going back to the negotiating table to talk peace again.

This Boy Esog wants that the victims of the senseless war launched by the Communist rebels under Jose Maria Sison who is in self-exile in the Netherlands, be given justice first before a new round of peace talks be started.

We are not saying that this Boy Esog is a member of the AFP. He could be somebody else who might have suffered a deep wound that continues to give his body and mind a gnawing pain that would keep on reminding him of the atrocities brought about by the more than half a century of ideological struggle.

Hence, we are certain that many can understand his personal position on the President’s plan to explore the re-opening of the peace negotiation.

But this Boy Esog though, cannot escape suspicion that he or she is a member of the Philippine military, or perhaps a member of a family of a soldier who died in the hands of the rebels. After all, who is the person who has the best access to the telecommunications facilities that make text blasting of messages possible but a member of the AFP or anyone who has connections with the government’s military forces.
Indeed the road to peace is strewn with obstacles of any kind. But if there is sincerity in the pursuit for peace any obstacle can be conquered if the parties will persevere. Let’s give peace a chance by allowing those who pursue it work for its attainment.

Yes, the deep wound of division among Filipinos created by the struggles of those whose ideology is adverse with hat of the government in place is extremely difficult to heal. But no one will ever know how long it takes to heal unless efforts towards that objective are tried.

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Of late there were news reports about suspected drug dealers including policemen or their close relatives either killed or arrested in Davao City. The latest of such reports was the one who was slain in an alleged shoot-out with elements of the Toril Police Station during a buy-bust last Sunday evening at Babisa Village in Barangay Lizada, Toril district.

It pains us to think that the very city presented by President Rodrigo Duterte as his showcase in launching his nationwide drug war is after all, still far from a totally drug-free community.

The President, who was a long-time mayor of Davao City before he was catapulted to the Presidency, had always been proud of his achievement in delivering his constituents from the clutches of illegal drugs.

We also assumed then that with Mayor Sara, the President’s daughter, ascending to his vacated position, and the President himself going home almost every week-end, the drug traders will skip the city as their market.

But based on the many report of arrests of persons involved in illegal drugs dealings, it is now apparent that they could have only lain low temporarily while the elder Duterte was still mayor. Then, they could have possibly underestimated lady mayor Sara because they somehow became active again during her watch.

Unfortunately for these drug personalities, they may be facing an even more difficult time in the city with the feisty woman mayor at the helm. Like her father, she has gotten the cooperation of the city police and the military’s Task Force Davao in her anti-illegal drugs campaign. Yet Davaoenos hardly hear the mayor talk tough against the drugs perpetrators. Seemingly, she simply let the police actions talk about her campaign.

Nonetheless, the laudable successes in the anti-illegal drugs drive in Davao City may not bode well with the President’s own nation-wide campaign. With all those reports of drug busts in hundreds of thousands and even millions of pesos worth, these could be some kind of small, yet very insulting slaps on the President’s face.

Imagine the illegal drugs trade still active in his own city, his showcase of a drug-free community!

Again, it pains us to think that the President could be agonizing in silence as he reads or hears reports of drug deals busted in his own city even as these are achievements of her mayor daughter.

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