Response to President Duterte’s call for my return to the Philippines

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
23 April 2018

Major Philippine and international mass media reported yesterday that President Duterte is urging me to return to the Philippines within a 60-day frame that he has set.

In response, I declare that I will certainly return home when a significant advance in the peace negotiations has been achieved within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration and when my comrades and lawyers are satisfied with legal and security precautions.

I am confident that the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels, consultants and drafting teams will be able to produce in the next few weeks the documents necessary for resuming the peace negotiations and making the peace process strong and stable.

I thank President Duterte for his expressed wish for my soonest homecoming and for his assurances of hospitality and guarantees for my safety. I have long wished that we could meet again and cooperate closely in enabling the peace process to advance from one item to another in the substantive agenda.

While we encourage the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels to prepare for the resumption of the peace negotiations, we must consider that if I return to the Philippines prematurely, I expose not only myself but also the entire peace process to extremely high risks of violent sabotage and termination by spoilers who are out to terminate the peace process once and for all.

In the next few weeks, the important common task of the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels is to prepare for the resumption of the peace negotiations by doing the following:

  1. Making a memorandum of agreement to respect existing agreements prior to Proclamation 360 (which terminated the peace process) and to remove the obstacles and hindrances to the participation of a significant number of NDFP negotiators, consultants and experts in the peace negotiations.

  2. Drafting the mutually satisfactory agreements on ceasefire and amnesty of the political prisoners as well as the parts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development and National Industrialization and Economic Development.

  3. Signing and approving the agreements well within the 60-day frame that President Duterte has set by way of resuming the peace negotiations.

After the formal resumption of the peace negotiations by the negotiating panels, then the circumstances shall arise for both the GRP and the NDFP to adopt all means possible to accelerate the peace negotiations and for both President Duterte and myself to work closely together in the Philippines in order to resolve issues at an unprecedented pace and guide and inspire the home run to the most fruitful and successful destination of the peace process. ###

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