Joma Sison: Reds willing to resume talks with government

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The communist rebels are willing to resume peace talks with the government, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said yesterday.

Sison said the reason why the communists are still fighting the government is because President Duterte and some of his subordinates, like Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, remain “unwilling” to talk peace.

Sison said the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA), under the National Democratic Front (NDF), will remain open to several possibilities of talking peace until Duterte and his subordinates change their minds and agree to negotiate or when a new administration is in place.

Lorenzana had questioned the communist’s motive to reopen the peace talks, saying the rebels have been using the negotiations to recruit, reorganize and rearm their guerrilla force.

He added the call of the 61 lawmakers urging the resumption of peace talks is unnecessary in the absence of an enabling environment.

“We will resume the peace process once the enabling environment is present. I believe that the enabling environment is nonexistent at the moment,” Lorenzana said.

Sison also lauded Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III for supporting the resumption of peace negotiations.

“I appreciate and welcome Senate President Aquilino Pimentel’s statement that he favors the resumption of the peace negotiations and that the petition to declare the CPP and NPA terrorist organizations can be withdrawn to clear the way for the resumption of negotiations,” Sison said.

Sison described Pimentel’s statement as “encouraging.”

“Pimentel’s statement is definitely encouraging to the NDF and to all those interested in striving for just peace. It rides well on the earlier resolution of the House (of Representatives), signed by 61 lawmakers, urging President Duterte to listen to the clamor of the people for a resumption of peace talks between the (government) and the NDF,” Sison said.

Sison said the cooperation of Congress is needed for the peace negotiations to resume and advance to a successful conclusion. 

“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,” he said.

Sison also said Congress is needed to pass the laws for enabling the realization and implementation of policy agreements.

“Duterte and his subordinates ought not to delay the resumption of peace negotiations by believing their own propaganda that they can destroy the revolutionary movement with sheer violence and deception or by harping on the line that the NDF is insincere,” Sison said.  – Jaime Laude, Artemio Dumlao, Roel Pareño

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