Tsikahan with Tito Jo, sponsored by Anakbayan-Europa
From the host Anghelo Godino
Answers by Jose Maria Sison
August 19, 2020
- Tito, for the sake of our viewers can you explain what the peace talks are. Why are there peace negotiations between GRP and NDFP? Is it possible to hold the peace negotiations in the Philippines? Are there any countries that have the same negotiations?
JMS: There is an armed conflict in the Philippines, a civil war between the People’s Democratic Government, which is represented by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Philippine reactionary government (GRP) of big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats. It was during the Aquino regime in 1989 and then the Ramos regime in 1992 that the GRP approached the NDFP in The Netherlands for peace negotiations.
It was in 1992 that the GRP and NDFP signed the The Hague Joint Declaration as the framework for the peace negotiations. They agreed that the peace negotiations must address the roots of the armed conflict and forge comprehensive agreements on social, economic, and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. The substantive agenda for the peace negotiations has four items: a) Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, b) Social and Economic Reforms, c) Political and Constitutional Reforms and d)End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces.
The GRP and NDFP also agreed to hold the peace negotiations in a neutral foreign venue until all the comprehensive agreements have been signed in order to prevent peace saboteurs from harming the NDFP negotiators, consultants and staff and sabotaging the peace negotiations. The NDFP personnel had a bad experience of being surveiled during the 1986 ceasefire negotiations between the GRP and NDFP and then when the ceasefire agreement broke down because of Mendiola massacre in early 1987 they were subjected to abductions and killings by the GRP military and intelligence agencies.
In the long history of mankind and in recent history, there have been many cases of peace negotiations between two warring parties that belong to one country but who agree to negotiate peace in a neutral venue abroad in order to preempt sabotage by elements who oppose the peace negotiations. Examples of such peace negotiations are too many to mention.
- What are the JASIG and CASER? And why are they important or relevant?
JMS: The JASIG is the the acronym of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees for the benefit and protection of the negotiators, consultants, advisors, resource persons and staff personnel of the negotiating panels both of the GRP and NDFP. The JASIG carries the provision that peace negotiations must be held in a neutral venue abroad by way of guaranteeing the safety of the negotiating panels and all related persons.
CASER is the acronym for Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. This is supposed to be the second item in the substantive agenda in the peace negotiations. Its main content is agrarian reform and national industrialization and is supposed to be the meat or main substance for a just peace. The first item is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This was finished and approved by the GRP and NDFP principals in 1998.
- How do the negotiations work?
JMS. The GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels negotiate all the important issues and the comprehensive agreements as well as other important agreements to be made. With regard to the drafting and negotiation of the comprehensive agreements, the said panels have their respective working committees on each item of the substantive agenda. The meetings of the panels and their respective working committees are arranged by the third party facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government, represented by the special envoy to the Philippine peace process.
- Neo-Marxists and some Western Marxists are critical of peace negotiations. Some even say that the CPP is turning revisionist because of this, but why are peace talks crucial in ending the poverty and armed conflict in the Philippines?
JMS: Those you mention as Neo-Marxists and Western Marxists who are critical of peace negotiations as revisionist are pseudo-Marxists and are completely ignorant of the history of revolutionary wars and peace negotiations. The Chinese Communist Party negotiated and made truce with the Guomindang several times in order to fight the northern warlords and then the Japanese aggressors. Mao Zedong went to the Chungking peace negotiations with the Guomindang and as a result taught us a lot how to negotiate in favor of the people. The NDFP has also learned a lot from the negotiating principles and methods of the Vietnamese revolutionaries in negotiations with US imperialists in Paris.
Peace negotiations are a way of broadcasting to the Filipino people and the people of the world the NDFP program of people’s democratic revolution. It is a way of showing that the revolutionary movement has gained so much strength that the enemy is suing for peace. It is a way of testing , proving and exposing how the enemy is incapable of meeting the demands of the people. It is a way of preventing the enemy from claiming unilaterally that it is a champion of peace and from misrepresenting the revolutionary forces of the people as warmongers.
Despite the long series of peace talks, the the revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines has never capitulated nor stopped from waging the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. It has succeeded in exposing the reactionary character of one GRP regime after another. There is no naive or revisionist illusion that peace talks are the way to end poverty and armed conflict in the Philippines. And may I know where these pseudo-Marxist blabbers are waging a people’s war to prove that they know what they are talking about.
- The CPP and Left were hopeful when Duterte came to power especially with him advertising his relation to the Left and his openness to peace negotiations, now that Duterte is showing his true color, how do the CPP and peace-loving citizens see the negotiations with Duterte?
JMS: There is absolutely no more possibility of NDFP negotiating with the GRP while Duterte is the president. Before he could finish his first year as president, he was clearly manifesting his lack of interest in peace negotiations. The NDFP was not at all surprised when he terminated the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and designated as “terrorists” the CPP and NPA on December 5, 2017. Subsequently, he created the National Task Force-ELCAC. Recently he signed the law by which he gave himself and a council of fellow butchers the license to use state terrorism in order to obtain charter change and fascist dictatorship.
If the CPP and NDFP outrightly rejected and did not test Duterte’s plea or offer of peace negotiations in the first year of his rule, the same pseudo-Marxists and Trotskyites would have exclaimed that the CPP and NDFP were dogmatists and were plain lovers of war. The fact is that the CPP and NDFP kept on scolding Duterte for failing to amnesty and release the political prisoners, rebuffed every attempt of Duterte to trick or put one over the revolutionary movement and never stopped the people’s war, except for short periods of ceasefire for humanitarian reasons and purposes of goodwill. The CPP and NPA never gave up the people’s war just because the NDFP engaged the GRP in peace negotiations.
- In a span of 2 years, we lost three great warriors for peace and patriots, Ka Randy Malayao, Ka Fidel Agcaoili and Ka Randall Enchanis, to give tribute to their great contribution and hard work, can you introduce them briefly to our viewers?
JMS: Ka Fidel Agcaoili was the chairman of the NDFP Negotiating Panel at the time of his death on July 23. He was a long time proletarian revolutionary since the 1960s. We developed together ideologically, politically and organizationally. He made significant contributions to the revolutionary movement. He died from the rupture of his pulmonary artery. I invite the listeners to read my long tribute to him and the tributes of other comrades who knew and loved him.
Ka Randy Malayao was murdered by state forces in January 2019. He was a consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel. He was the press officer and spokesperson of the NDFP panel in the peace negotiations. He was an outstanding leader from his student days, a UP campus writer and officer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. He was active in the national democratic movement as an advocate of a just peace for decades. He was shot to death by Duterte’s undercover agents while he was asleep in a bus at a bus stop in Aritao Nueva Vizcaya. Ka Randy had no criminal charges against him before any government court and was campaigning for peace around the country. I invite our listeners to read my tribute to him. A book on peace is published in his honor.
Ka Randall Echanis was a senior consultant of the NDFP negotiating panel, member of the Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms and head of its subcommittee on agrarian reform and rural development. He was Chairman of the Anakpawis Party List and deputy general secretary of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. He was murdered recently in his own apartment by a death squad of the Duterte regime.
- Duterte ordered the killings and arrests of the NDFP consultants and activists, in fact, there are more political prisoners under his regime. How are these affecting the negotiations, especially with the recent killing of Ka Randall?
JMS: In the first place, the Duterte regime terminated the peace negotiations in 2017. Since then , the regime has been arresting and killing NDFP consultants and other people tagged as communists. The murders of Ka Randy Malayao and Ka Randall Echanis have made peace negotiations more impossible than ever before while Duterte is in power.
- You mentioned a lot that there are peace saboteurs in the ranks of AFP-PNP, why is that? What are they doing to sabotage the peace talks?
JMS: The president and Negotiating Panel of the GRP always involve the so-called national security cluster of the Cabinet in peace negotiations because these are about the armed conflict. Thus, retired and active military and police officers who are extremely pro-US, anti-communist and reactionary have a say on the peace negotiations of the GRP.
Several times, they sabotage the peace negotiations by pushing demands that amount to making the revolutionary movement paralyze itself or surrender to the reactionary government, like protracted and indefinite ceasefire or repeated ceasefires and then making false accusations of ceasefire violations in order to stop the negotiations on substantive issues.
They themselves violate the JASIG or many other terms of the peace negotiations very often by arresting or killing people involved in the peace negotiations on the side of the NDFP. They are not interested in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. They think that the military solution is the sole or best solution to the basic problems of the people.
It also convenient for the president of the GRP to refer to the advice of the national security cluster when he or she decides to stop or delay the peace negotiations for pressure purposes or whatever other reason. They would suddenly make unreasonable demands which violate the terms of the peace negotiations. Duterte decided to terminate the peace negotiations in 2017 for the purpose of scapegoating the CPP and NPA and then justifying state terrorism and pushing his scheme of fascist dictatorship through charter change, He also pledged to Trump in 2017 to eliminate the revolutionary movement.
- Why do you think the Duterte regime keeps on resorting to brutality, violence and murder? Why does he keep on ordering the arrests, killings and imprisonment of the activists and peace advocates? Does this show his strength and that the activists and dissents should now cower in fear?
JMS: Duterte is certified as a psychopath by psychiatrists. And he himself boasts of having murdered people, like killing a fellow teenager or showing to his police officers how to kill captives efficiently and with impunity while he was Davao City mayor. Several times he has publicly and shamelessly directed the police and military to frame up, arrest and kill suspects with impunity. His first acts in power were to order the listing and killing of drug suspects by the thousands up to more than 30,000 in only two years time. Secretly he ordered an all-out war against the revolutionary movement under the cover of the military officers merely continuing the Oplan Bayanihan of Aquino. Now, he is in a frenzy to arrest and kill people under his law of state terrorism.
Duterte never had any idea or program of developing the Philippine economy outside of the neoliberal frame. His frame of mind is to rule like a bully mayor who is mostly or solely concerned with peace and order and killing street criminals and political opponents. His main or sole program is kill, kill, kill and intimidate people in order to subjugate or silence them. He has engaged in the mass murder of drug suspects so make himself the supreme drug lord and to make his own crime family dominant. And he now attacks the revolutionary movement and orders the arrests, killings and imprisonment of the activists and peace advocates in connection with his scheme to impose a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the people.
The tyrant’s brutality is not only due to a sick mind but due to a desire for absolute power and absolute corruption. But due to his brutality, abuse of power and corruption, Duterte has already bankrupted the Philippine economy and his own government. He has channeled extremely large amounts of public funds to corruption and to excessive funding of the military and police at the expense of economic development and social services. He has allowed the smuggling in of illegal drugs and other goods to the Philippines as well as the smuggling out of mineral ores of precious metals to China.
So, Duterte has rendered his own regime extremely isolated and weak politically and financially. He is extremely weak now despite his constant efforts to show off as a bully and butcher. The Duterte regime is notorious for being traitorous in being a puppet to two imperialist powers and of course for being tyrannical, murderous, corrupt and mendacious.
- The armed revolution in the Philippines has been going on for 50 years, some say it has been going on for 5 decades because it is failing, the Left. But why does the CPP say that the 50 years is a success? Can you explain?
JMS: The CPP started with only some 80 cadres and members, with an organized mass following of only 20,000 in 1968 and then gaining another 80,000 by joining up with elements of the old revolutionary movement in Tarlac. Now, the CPP has tens of thousands of members, the New People’s Army with thousands of Red fighters aside from the bigger numbers of local people’s militia and self-defense units, revolutionary mass organizations with millions of members and organs of political power in charge of many more millions of people nationwide in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 74 out of the 81 Philippine provinces.
It is not a meager achievement to have all the aforementioned. There has never been a bigger and stronger revolutionary movement in Philippine history. There are now two governments in the Philippines. The People’s Democratic Government is now engaged in a civil war with the reactionary government of big compradors, landlords and corrupt officials, a puppet government that gets huge military assistance from US imperialism. If not the most outstanding, the Philippine revolutionary movement is now one of the most outstanding armed revolutionary movements in the world. And it is in the forefront of the rising anti-imperialist and democratic struggles and the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution.
- Will we ever find peace under this regime? Will we actually achieve peace?
JMS: The Duterte regime has terminated the peace negotiations since 2017 and is now in a frenzy to impose state terrorism on the Filipino people and realize the scheme of fascist dictatorship. The regime is not for any peace negotiations or any just peace agreement. To win the just peace, the Filipino people have no choice but to wage a resolute revolutionary struggle against the traitorous, tyrannical, genocidal and plundering Duterte regime and against the rotten ruling system.
- How can the youth carry forward the advocacies of Ka Fidel, Ka Randy and Ka Randall?
JMS: Ka Fidel, Ka Randy and Ka Randall wanted a just peace like the Filipino people. The Filipino youth must intensify their efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the people for the ouster of the tyrant Duerte. Under the current circumstances, resumption of peace negotiations is possible only if the Duterte regime is ousted and his constitutional successor is willing to negotiate. The people’s desire for a just peace can be realized if there are mutually satisfactory comprehensive agreements between the GRP and NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict or the people’s democratic revolution succeeds in overthrowing the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. ####