OPINION: Peace in our time

Teddy Locsin Jr.

Posted at Sep 02 2016 02:44 AM

Alister Doyle of Reuters reports that “the Philippine government and Maoist-led rebels agreed to indefinite ceasefires last Friday as part of an accord to accelerate the end of a conflict that has lasted almost five decades and killed at least 40,000 people.” 
Let me correct that. It is the longest running insurgency in history, starting in the early 1950s when the United States forced the Philippines to deny the communists elected representation in the Philippine Congress. And yet it was communists alone who resisted the Japanese occupation effectively. Everybody else collaborated or pretended to be “gorillas,” which was easy. Have you seen photos of our forebears? 
The ceasefire agreements were signed outside Oslo, the Norwegian prime minister attending. Let’s hope not the same one urging the Philippines to give away one third of Mindanao to Muslim terrorists—to be turned over by them to Malaysia.     The communists want an end to what they call a semi-feudal society, land redistribution to the poor, and the nationalization of industries for workers. 
This may seem impossible but in fact it has happened already. 
Feudalism is dead. Look at the nobodies in power today. Not a single distinguished family name among them. The notables of the old republic are gone. 
Land has been redistributed to tenants, real and imaginary. And leased by them to Chinese millionaires for contract farming on the very land redistributed to them. 
There is no industry to speak of after every post-EDSA government obeyed the lies of the Washington Consensus and dismantled what little was left of the Philippine industrial base. 
The only thing that remained is for the shooting to stop. The agreement last week should do that. 
So what do we have? 
We have peace in our time after the longest running insurgency in human history. What remains is power-sharing and that’s happened in the Cabinet already. And, if the NDF lives up to its democratic pretensions, a crack at political power by elections. In the Irish Republican Army peace talks this meant financing rebel participation in elections. 
In Colombia last week, a shorter but far more brutal insurgency came to an end with a peace agreement that provides a minimum guaranteed five seats in the Colombian senate and a general amnesty for all rebels, with temporary restraints on the movements of the most brutal insurgents and government security forces. 
For our politicians, this means a turn for the serious in Philippine politics, away from the usual clowning toward the unusual work of serious government. 
For the communists, it means not surrendering their firearms, they may be betrayed—but coming up with serious proposals on how to do government better. That means moving from Marxism, the economic philosophy with the strongest explanatory power ever, to its practical application to a country with hardly any real economy left; country living off the foam of a “financialized” economy. 
It is all over. But the deep misgivings on both sides about keeping their promises.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.