For talks to revive, both House chambers should cooperate, Joma says

Mar. 29, 2018

SUCCESSFUL ROUND. In this file photo taken on April 6, 2017, the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines concluded the fourth round of talks at the Radisson Blu Palace Hotel in Noordwijk Aan Zee in the Netherlands. Negotiators of the government and the NDFP raised their arms with the third party facilitator from the Royal Norwegian Government. L-R: NDFP peace panel Chairperson Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison, Norwegian Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and GRP Chief Negotiator Silvestre Bello III. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

MANILA, Philippines – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison stressed on Tuesday that the cooperation of both chambers of Congress is needed for the revival and success of the peace talks between the NDFP and the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

Sison said the concurrence of Congress is needed for a presidential amnesty proclamation to release all political prisoners in compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in exchange for a mutually effective ceasefire as the first step towards the end of hostilities.

“The cooperation of Congress is also needed to pass the laws for enabling the realization and implementation of the policy agreements to be embodied in the comprehensive agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces,” he added.

Since October 4, 2017, the NDFP said it had already positively responded to the expressed desire of GRP to draft a ceasefire agreement more effective and more sustained than the previous unilateral ceasefires, said Sison.

Sison also welcomed Senate President Aquilino Pimentel’s support of the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and the withdrawal of the petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.

“Ang personal position ko nga, formally or informally, dapat tuloy (ang peace talks). Kapwa Filipino e bakit tayo nagpapatayan,” Pimentel told reporters, Monday.

“Kung walang peace talks, talagang lines are drawn e, so anytime there could be attacks, there could be arrests, there could be killings, yun ang effect nun. So yung fear andun tataas, na anytime you could be attacked,” he added.

Sison said Pimentel’s statement was “encouraging to the NDFP and to all those interested in striving for just peace” and “rides well on the earlier resolution of the Lower House.”

The resolution, filed last March 22, was signed by 61 lawmakers from various political parties. They urged President Rodrigo Duterte to listen to the clamor of the people for a resumption of peace talks between the GRP and and the NDFP.

Sison said the NDFP is “definitely willing” to resume peace negotiations as soon as the GRP agrees.

However, if Duterte and his men are unwilling to negotiate peace, Sison said the revolutionary forces and people represented by the NDFP “have no choice but to concentrate single-mindedly on fighting those who lust for their blood, death and humiliation.

“The best test of sincerity is to maintain sobriety and reasonableness in the peace process, comply with mutually approved agreements and concentrate on the negotiation and forging of agreements on social, economic and political reforms to lay the ground for a just and lasting peace for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he added.

If peace talks will resume, he said, the full implementation of CARHRIHL and the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER) can be achieved.

CASER, which contains the commitments of both panels for genuine agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, independent foreign policy and fiscal and monetary policies, among others, is seen as one of the steps to solve poverty and social inequality in the country. (

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