Brief Remarks by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
and Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines
30 April 2012
I am thankful to my dear friend, General Joone de Leon, for giving a lecture on my socio-political philosophy and to him and to all of you in the Regular Class 47 of the Masters program in National Security Administration for allowing me the privilege and honor of expressing my position and recommendations on certain current issues of great importance to our nation and people.
Regarding the claims and intrusions of China involving the Kalayaan group of islands and the Panatag shoal, I consider it a matter of principle and patriotic duty to uphold the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. The aforesaid pieces of territory are well within the 200-nautical miles of exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which the Philippines and China have signed and which bind the two countries.
The UNCLOS provides us the strongest basis for the assertion of our sovereign right over the islands, shoals and reefs at issue under international law. Archaoelogical evidence shows that inhabitants of the Philippines have used these since prehistoric times in their fishing, coral harvesting and sailing activities. Spanish colonial mapping and other historical records show that these pieces of territory belong to the Philippine archipelago. The Morillo Map used by the US and Spain in forging the 1898 Treaty of Philippines includes Bajo de Masinloc, Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal.
Despite its assertiveness, China has so far avoided any outright military act of aggression. It is probably mindful of its claims to a peaceful rise and its binding commitments to the UNCLOS and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. In my debates with foreign revolutionaries who claim that China is already an imperialist power, I have maintained that indeed China has become capitalist and does export a significant amount of surplus capital but it has not yet deployed combat troops to promote and protect its foreign investments. Even in the UN peacekeeping operations which it has joined, it has avoided committing Chinese combat troops.
We should also consider it a matter of principle and duty to seek a peaceful resolution of the territorial issues with China under the terms of the UNCLOS and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China sea. As much as possible, we may negotiate with China bilaterally as well as through the ASEAN. We are aware of the limits of these approaches and how the issue can protract without end. Thus, we must at all times demand that the issue be decided conclusively as soon as possible by presenting a case under the UNCLOS to the International Tribune on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.
It is in our sovereign interest not to involve the country and people in any self-damaging act, like an unnecessary war or even unnecessary shows of military force or provocations. China has shown a preference for economic and diplomatic action rather than military action in international affairs. We should not be carried away by the illusion that the US is out to protect us. We must keep in mind that the US has far larger interests in China than in the Philippines and that the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty, which carries no automatic retaliation clause, allows the US to avoid siding with the Philippines against China. What the US is bent on doing is to manage and manipulate the Philippine-China contradictions in order to further entrench itself militarily in the Philippines, continue to violate our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, serve as the bantay salakay, and intensify its efforts to strengthen US hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region.
Regarding the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, these are now paralyzed by the stubborn position of the Aquino government or in particular its Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) to get the immediate capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP; to undermine The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 by labelling it as a document of so-called perpetual division rather than as a viable framework of peace negotiations; to cover up, condone and perpetuate the extrajudicial killings, torture and detention of NDFP consultants and staffers in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity and Guarantees (JASIG) and to continue the detention of more than 350 political prisoners detained on trumped up charges of common crimes in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Hernandez political offense doctrine in particular.
Notwithstanding all the aforecited issues, the NDFP holds the position that the peace negotiations are still going on in principle because no side has terminated JASIG and that in fact twelve formal agreements between the two sides remain valid and binding, the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee under the CARHRIHL continues to operate in Quezon City, the panelists of both sides are allowed by the Ground Rules to meet at any time for consultations and the Norwegian third party facilitator shuttles back and forth between the two panels. Formal peace talks between the two negotiating panels have been lacking since February 2011. The NDFP is very desirous of the resumption of such formal talks and is willing to have teams of the negotiating panelists meet and engage in consultations in order to pave the way for the formal talks.
The NDFP continues to hope that the GPH comply with the JASIG and CARHRIHL as a matter of obligation and that the formal peace talks between the two panels are resumed so that the three remaining subjects in the substantive agenda can be negotiated and agreed one after the other. These are the a) social and economic reforms, b) political and constitutional reforms and c) the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. The NDFP continues to offer the special track of immediate truce and alliance between the GPH and NDFP as soon as they sign a general declaration of common intent even as the regular track of peace negotiations continues to deal with the three remaining subjects.
The general declaration of common intent proposed by the NDFP is something that cannot be opposed by any Filipino who is patriotic and desirous of democracy. It encompasses such objectives as upholding national sovereignty and independence and doing away with unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements; expanding democracy through certain mechanisms to empower the toiling masses and the middle class; carrying out a program of national industrialization and land reform; promoting a patriotic, scientific and pro-people education and culture; and pursuing an independent and active foreign policy for development and world peace.
If the Aquino administration is really interested in accelerating the regular track of peace conditions under conditions of truce, there is no reason for delaying the realization of the NDFP proposal on the special track for alliance and truce on the basis of a general declaration of common intent, all for for the benefit of the Filipino people.
I urge no less than the president of the GPH to muster the political will to do his crucial part in making the regular and special tracks succeed. The NDFP is always willing to meet his special representatives on the special track so that the conditions of peace negotiations are greatly improved and efforts are accelerated to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the ground for a just and lasting peace. Let us define the common political ground and work together immediately for the benefit of the people. ###