Zarate wants peace process with Left on barangay poll agenda

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Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) should be on the electoral agenda not just for the May 2019 midterm elections but also in next month’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“Aspiring candidates as prospective public servants should take up the matter of the peace process as a central campaign issue,” the Makabayan lawmaker said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced his intention to resume peace negotiations with NDFP leaders after talks between the two panels stalled for several months.

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

“We then strongly urge our electorates to reject in the polls those candidates who are hawks, warmongers — those who are against the peace talks. They should also reject officials and candidates who supported or who were involved in militarist operations and those tainted with human rights abuses. Most likely these candidates are promoters, too, of other anti-people programs and policies, ” he added.

“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,” he said.