MANILA, Philippines – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Chief Political Consultant Prof. Joma Sison clarified on Friday that the peace talks between the government have not been terminated.
Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said “only the National Council of the NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines] can make the decision to suspend, cancel or terminate the peace negotiations with GR and has not yet made such a decision.”
“I can only make the pertinent advice to the Council in my capacity as Chief Political Consultant,” he added.
He said in the Forum on Peace Under Siege, he made a critical review of the behavior of Duterte in relation to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
“And I deplored among other things his failure to fulfill his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners and his repeated whimsical termination of the negotiations as many as three times. It is very likely that he will convert his three-month suspension of the formal talks to one more termination,” he continued.
On Thursday, Sison said the NDFP, CPP’s political arm, could no longer negotiate with a government headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a strongly-worded statement condemning Duterte’s repeated cancellation of peace talks, Sison said the Filipino people, especially the oppressed and exploited, cannot expect any benefit from negotiating with the Duterte regime.
Sison also said it is relatively easier and more productive for the NDFP to participate in the “Oust-Duterte movement” and to prepare for peace negotiations with the prospective administration that replaces his regime.
He also dared Duterte to finally withdraw from the negotiating table since he has terminated the peace talks so many times in the past.
Doing so would deprive Duterte of the “opportunity of creating false illusions that he is for peace,” Sison said.
“It is therefore just for the revolutionary forces and the people to wage people’s war for national liberation and democracy… It is well and good if Duterte withdraws finally from the peace negotiations with the NDFP… He stands isolated and ripe for ouster by the broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces,” he said.
The formal resumption of peace talks was meant to proceed on June 28 in Norway, but was cancelled after Duterte said he needed more time and more consultations before proceeding with it.
Despite the impasse, Sison has assured that nothing goes to waste in the work and drafts of agreements already done by the NDFP.
“They can be carried over to the negotiation with GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) under a new administration. The room is open for the further improvement of the drafts in the meantime,” he said.
Moreover, the agreements and drafts already produced in the GRP-NDFP peace talks can be used by peace advocates and people´s organizations for information and education campaigns among the people and for consultations with them.
The past peace negotiations have resulted to the establishment of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) and the near final Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reform (CASER).
Sison also lambasted Duterte’s “lies” since the resumption of peace talks.
On May 16, 2016, Duterte promised to give amnesty and release all political prisoners even before the start of peace talks but up until now, this remains a “long and repeatedly proven lie,” according to Sison.
Sison also said Duterte’s “obsession” has always been to seek the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people, stressing that the President has no interest in addressing the roots of the armed conflict through social, economic and political reforms.
Sison also noted that since May 2017, Duterte has terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP three times and fouled up every attempt to resume these through back channel talks.
At the third termination in November and December 2017, he issued Proclamation 360 to terminate the peace negotiations and Proclamation 374 to designate the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations and filed a case before the Manila regional trial court (RTC) to seek the proscription of the CPP/NPA and 600 individuals as terrorists.
The aforesaid actions of Duterte would have been enough basis for the NDFP to conclude that he is not at all interested in peace negotiations, Sison said.
“But in response to the demands of peace advocates, the NDFP persevered and worked out a number of agreements with GRP representatives in back channel talks from March to June 2018. The most important of these would have constituted the Interim Peace Agreement at the resumption of formal talks in Oslo from June 28 to 30,” he continued.
The NDFP Chief Political Consultant also revealed the real reasons behind Duterte’s cancellation of the resumption of peace talks in Oslo.
He said this was because the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police wish to carry out their end of 2018 campaign plan to supposedly finish off the NPA, and to change the venue of peace talks to Manila, which the NDFP had earlier opposed as the talks may come under the control, surveillance duress and manipulation by Duterte and the military.
“By his pronouncements. Ðuterte pretends to review in three months the entire process and all agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations since 1992. By all indications, he will try to change the entire peace process and waste previous agreements. At any rate, he will try to impose on the NDFP changes that the NDFP will certainly reject,” Sison further said.
Duterte has dismissed Sison’s statement.
“I am here as a worker of government and my main task is to seek, find the peace of the country. If they are not willing to talk to me, that’s fine, I have no problem. So we continue with the war,” he told reporters in Panglao, Bohol province, Thursday.
“If you want to cease overthrowing governments, fine. You want to talk? Come here. If you don’t want to, fine,” he added.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has criticized Sison’s statement, saying he has “spoken like a true terrorist.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has also accused the CPP founder of using reverse psychology and intimidation to save the peace talks with government. (davaotoday.com)