Government to withdraw terror tag but…

Apr. 06, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The government is open to withdraw the petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist groups once it forges a final peace agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday.

“Siguro po, kapag natuloy na muli ang pag-uusap, pupuwede namang mag-file ng manifestation ang gobyerno na iho-hold muna nila in abeyance iyong petisyon na nakahain sa hukuman, pending the outcome of the peace talks,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

“I think it will be withdrawn if there is a final peace agreement signed. But while the peace talks are ongoing, ang pupuwedeng gawin is, diyan lang siya,” he added.

In a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 last February 21, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought the declaration of the CPP-NPA, and at least 600 progressives as terrorists.

The DOJ tagged as terrorists, among others, CPP founder and Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison, alleged ranking CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and NDFP peace negotiators Luis Jalandoni, Coni Ledesma, Randall Echanis, and Rafael Baylosis, who is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

During Wednesday’s 24the Cabinet meeting, however, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza to work on the revival of the peace negotiations between the government and CPP’s political arm, NDFP.

Duterte also said this could ensue once a ceasefire agreement to stop mutual attacks has been forged.

“Let’s give this another last chance,” Duterte said, as he committed to provide support, if necessary, in replacement of the “revolutionary tax” that he asked be stopped.

Duterte terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP in November last year. He consequently issued a proclamation declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.

Recently, 61 multi-partisan Lower House members signed a resolution urging the President to resume the peace negotiations.

Even Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and other Congress leaders have also expressed support to the revival of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP.

Sison said the NDFP is likewise open and ready to resume the peace negotiations and expects both panels to meet as soon as possible to discuss the drafts prepared on October 4, 2017.

“We are sincere in striving to negotiate and forge with the GRP comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis of a just and lasting peace as well as corollary agreements to amnesty and release all political prisoners and to have coordinated unilateral ceasefires to start the enjoyment of peace,” he added.

He also urged that no preconditions be given upon the resumption of the peace negotiations.(

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