Congress’ cooperation needed for resumption of peace talks —Joma

GMA News
Published March 27, 2018 2:31pm

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday said the cooperation Congress is needed in order for the peace negations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to resume.

Sison made the statement after more than 60 lawmakers from the House of Representatives signed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to resume the peace talks.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has expressed support for the House resolution support for it.

In a statement, Sison said he appreciated and welcomed Pimentel’s statement, adding that it was “definitely encouraging” to the NDFP and to all others who strive for just peace.

“The cooperation of both houses of Congress is needed for the peace negotiations to resume and advance to a successful conclusion,” he 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 in exchange for a mutually effective ceasefire as the first step towards the end of hostilities,” he added.

Sison also said that Congress’ cooperation is necessary to pass the laws that will enable the implementation of policy agreements to be embodied in the comprehensive agreements on social economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, as well as putting an end to hostilities and disposition of forces.

Duterte, on November 23 last year, signed Proclamation No. 360 terminating the peace negotiations between the government and NDFP, just two days before the fifth round of formal talks scheduled on November 25-27 in Oslo, Norway.

The panels were supposed to discuss the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, as well as agreements on general amnesty and release of all political prisoners and the coordinated unilateral ceasefires.

Sison said the NDFP is very much willing to resume peace talks as soon as the Philippine government agrees to it.

“But if President Duterte and his subordinates Lorenzana and dela Rosa are unwilling to negotiate peace, 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,” he said.

Despite this, Sison said the NDFP, the CPP and the New People’s Army will remain open to possibilities that Duterte will change his mind and resume peace negotiations.

The leftist leader also said the Duterte administration should not delay the resumption of the peace talks by believing their own propaganda that they can destroy the revolutionary movement with violence or by saying that the NDFP is insincere.

“The NDFP has more and bigger complaints against the GRP, AFP and PNP for violations of human rights and international humanitarian during and outside ceasefire periods but the NDFP has properly submitted its complaints to the Joint Monitoring Committee under CARHRIHL so as not to disrupt the negotiation of substantive agreements,” he said.

“But Duterte has been the one ignoring the appropriate mechanisms for complaints, ranting publicly against the NDFP, CPP and NPA and repeatedly terminating the peace negotiations,” he added. —NB, GMA News

For Sison, the best test of sincerity is maintaining reasonableness in the peace process, complying with mutually-approved agreements, concentrating on the negotiations and forging agreements for just and lasting peace.

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