DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison might set foot in the Philippines if peace talks between communists and the Philippine government significantly progresses.
Quoting Sison, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in a statement said Sison may come home should a “real milestone of great substance for the Filipino people be achieved in the peace negotiations.”
This milestone, according to the NDFP may take the form of “the amnesty and release of all political prisoners listed by the NDFP and the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms by the GRP and NDFP.”
Sison also acknowledged the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, a group of writers and artists planning to nominate him into the Order of National Artists for Literature. National artists in the Philippines are chosen by the president from a shortlist provided by the Cultural Center of the Philippines once every three years.
Sison, who also serves as the NDFP’s chief political consultant, has written 25 books, and in 1968, was awarded the Southeast Asia WRITE Award for poetry and the essay by the then crown prince of Bangkok, Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Sison’s poetry, as well as his exploits as a young activist to the “rebuilding” of the Communist Party of the Philippines are featured in the film “The Guerilla is a Poet” released in 2013. The film’s title is derived from Sison’s poem, “The Guerilla is like a Poet,” written in 1968.
“He belongs to the patriotic and revolutionary tradition of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Francisco Balagtas, Lope K. Santos, Amado V. Hernandez and other literary giants of their time. He has contributed greatly to the Filipino sense of nationhood, advocating national sovereignty and independence, democracy, social justice, economic development through land reform and national industrialization, patriotic culture and solidarity with all peoples for peace and development,” the NDFP said.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, said he would allow Sison safe passage to the country, even offering to pay for Sison’s hospitalization.
“Dureza and Bello called me. Sabi ko, you tell Sison because he’s sick, very sick, you can come home, I’ll give him freedom of movement. I will not arrest him. I’ll even pay for the hospitalization kung gusto niya,” Duterte said during the 29th Annual National Convention of the Prosecutors League of the Philippines in Clark, Pampanga.
Duterte however, said his offer came with the same preconditions that he gave to the guerrillas before the fourth round of talks began: to stop collecting revolutionary tax, release all prisoners of war, and to stop claiming territories in the Philippines.
“Kung wala ‘yan, sabi ko ayaw ko. Giyera na lang tayo. We have been at it for 50 years. Do you want to fight for another 50 years?” Duterte said.
On Thursday in the Netherlands, the government and the NDFP signed an agreement to an interim joint ceasefire, which directs the ceasefire committees of both panels to conduct “in-between formal talks, to discuss, formulate, and finalize the guidelines and ground rules for the implementation of this agreement.”
While not yet a definitive truce, NDFP Peace Consultant Wilma Tiamzon said the agreement would enable the peace talks to progress towards the substantive agenda, which would be the concrete agreements to be forged in the CASER. (davaotoday.com)
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