DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Sunday, January 14, welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to a one-on-one talk, in the hope to resume peace negotiations.
In a statement sent to the media, Prof. Jose Maria Sison said Duterte’s offer is “more important than his still angry words” in his recent interview with MindaNews.”
Earlier, the President once again gave a hint that he is willing to resume the talks with the communists, saying that to make it possible, the CPP-NPA need to “go lower” and that they would need to watch their language.
“Gusto ko si Sison pumunta dito. Kaming dalawa mag-usap, kaming dalawa lang dito sa kwarto” (I want Sison to come here. The two of us will talk. Only the two of us here in this room),” Duterte told MindaNews on January 12.
Duterte recalled the incident that triggered him to call off the peace talks last year. He referred to that November 11, 2017 incident, where a police officer and a four-month-old infant died in an ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Tikalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon.
The NPA issued a statement saying it would indemnify the families of the victims and expressed remorse over the unfortunate incident.
Following that, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 on November 23, canceling the participation of the government’s peace panel in the negotiations with the NDFP and later declared the CPP-NPA as “terror groups”.
He also admitted that declaring them as terrorists would not solve the problem but “it can lessen their number”.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vows to end the communist insurgency before the year ends.
Asked if the doors are totally shut for the resumption of peace talks, Duterte said,”I don’t know but it would need more than just a show of good faith.”
In response, Sison said he is willing to talk with Duterte “for the sake and purpose of resuming the peace negotiations.”
“It would indeed be a waste if we would not interface even once, considering the success of the four rounds of formal talks since 2016,” Sison said.
Sison said they could meet in a neighboring country considering “mutual convenience and sense of prudence” for both parties.
The peace negotiations between the government and the NDF under the Duterte administration have reached “unprecedented advancements” including the agreement on reforms like free land distribution that will benefit millions of farmers. (davaotoday.com)