The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on 27 December 2022 condemned the ”localized peace talks” peddled in the media by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ”to hide from the public view the de facto state of martial law and rampant violations of human rights.”

The CPP’s Chief Information Officer, Marco Valbuena, said, ”In areas where the AFP suspect people of supporting the New People’s Army, entire populations are placed under military control. The peasant masses and minority people are subjected to food and economic blockades in violation of international humanitarian law. 

Farmers who need to work in their their fields or mountain farms are restricted. People are subjected to surveillance, interrogations and threats. Arbitrary arrests or abductions, torture, massacres and extrajudicial killings are becoming common in places under the AFP’s control.”

According to Valbuena, the tactics being applied under martial law were the same tactics used by US forces in the Vietnam War, in which the people are  subjected to state terrorism. Valbuena points to instances of combat operations where the AFP dropped bombs and fired artillery near communities, effectively terrorizing the local population and destroying their livelihood.

Valbuena further adds that these tactics are used in areas to drive farmers and indigenous peoples away from their farm and ancestral lands to give way for the entry or expansion of foreign-owned mining operations and plantations. Valbuena further adds that in Davao City, in the ”peace zone” established by former city mayor and now Vice-President Sara Duterte and the AFP, ”the land is being grabbed by large banana and cacao plantation companies.”

Rosa Guidon, Spokesperson of the NDF-Ilocos on 26 December, 2022, said that the AFP’s attempts to talk to different units of the NDF in different regions to make them ”surrender” will fail. It will not break the consolidated national organization of the CPP-NPA-NDF.   

Valbuena concluded, ”Over the past five years (since Duterte unilaterally terminated peace negotiations with the NDFP in 2017), the AFP has fooled zero local NPA unit or local Party committees with their “localized peace talk” rhetoric. All revolutionary forces are firmly united behind the policy that all negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) will be conducted at the national level. This policy is based on the fact that the roots of the ongoing armed conflict or civil war are not local and encompasses the entire country.”