DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison is clueless why the Philippine government had to terminate peace talks despite the advances it made since the formal resumption last year.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the 78-year old Sison wrote: “One more important question for everyone: Why terminate the peace negotiations when the third round of formal talks in Rome was successful and scheduled the fourth round in Oslo for April 2-6?”
Sison addressed his post to NDF legal counsel Atty Edre Olalia who previously explained to the media the issue surrounding the order to rearrest NDFP consultants who were granted temporary liberty through bail to join the peace talks last year.
On Wednesday, the CPP Central Committee and the New People’s Army National Operations Command announced the termination of its unilateral ceasefire effective on Friday, Feb. 10.
President Rodrigo Duterte reciprocated by lifting the government’s own ceasefire declaration immediately on Friday, Feb. 3.
Duterte followed then announced the termination of the talks on Saturday, Feb 4. He also called the CPP, NPA, and NDFP as terrorist organizations reacting to the killing of soldiers even while the unilateral ceasefire is still standing.
Duterte also ordered the rearrest of the Communist negotiators.
But Sison said it should be noted if Duterte made the proper formal notice of termination of the JASIG and the peace negotiations. He also urged everyone to read the Joint Statement signed by both parties during the third round of talks in Rome, Italy last January 25.
“You should also consider in the first place, whether Duterte made the proper formal notice of termination of the JASIG and the entire peace negotiations. Is it done with ranting the termination by Duterte in a press conference and then by Dureza following it up by putting the so-called announcement of termination on the Joint Stationery of the Office of the President and OPAPP,” Sison said.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Tuesday submitted a formal notice terminating the JASIG which was addressed to Sison and NDFP peace panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili.
During the opening of the third round of talks, Sison said the two panels can negotiate “in a non-adversarial way and overcome any obstacle by addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.”
Sison also cited that the unilateral ceasefire by both parties can easily be turned into a “more stable bilateral ceasefire upon the release of all political prisoners by the GRP in compliance with the CARHRIHL.”
Among the gains of the talks were the signing of the supplemental guidelines on the Joint Monitoring Committee and the ground rules for the meetings of the reciprocal working committees on social and economic reforms.
These documents were seen to aid the acceleration of the negotiations and the operationalization of the CARHRIHL or the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law, the first major agreement signed by both Parties in 1998.
Both parties have already exchanged their complete drafts on CASER “more or less 10 days” before the opening of the talks in Rome.
According to the Joint Statement, the RWCs on SER have tackled the first four parts comprising the CASER draft.
For the first part, the RWCs on SER reaffirmed their April 2004 agreement on the Preamble and the Declaration of Principles. However, unresolved provisions and new insertions from the NDFP will be submitted to the negotiating panels for resolutions.
The RWCs discussed on the Bases, Scope, Applicability (Part 2) and they have identified points of agreement, while the Part 3 entitled Desired Outcomes was made.
The RWCs have also started discussing Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Part 4).
The committees agreed “in principle,” to the free distribution of land to farmers and farm workers as part of the governing frameworks of CASER.
‘Federal Republic of the Philippines’
The parties exchanged full drafts of the tentative Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms.
The parties have exchanged views on the proposed federal form of government.
In his closing statement read by NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalandoni, Sison is optimistic that the Parties can be ready for the founding of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.
“When the fourth round of talks comes, the goal of finishing the unified drafts of the CASER and CAPCR shall be in sight,” he said.
Sison said they are hoping that before the year ends the comprehensive agreements will be ready for approval.(davaotoday.com)