Sison brands resumption of peace talks necessary

Sison brands resumption of peace talks necessary
Published April 5, 2018, 2:28 PM

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said the resumption of the peace talks between government (GRP) and National Democratic Front is necessary to thresh out substantive issues and deal with the complaints and expressed confidence they can achieve a “substantial success.”

National Democratic Front Adviser Jose Maria Sison (Rocky Nazareno | Manila Bulletin)

Sison, former professor in Political Thought of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said in a statement that the GRP and National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiating peace panels can present their conflicting positions and achieve solutions to problems on mutually acceptable grounds once they meet.

“Without a formal meeting of the panels, there can only be an acrimonious public exchange of complaints and demands, which appear or sound like the preconditions prohibited by The Hague Joint Declaration,” he added.

Sison is also the chief political consultant of the NDF.

Both parties were supposed to discuss Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and Comprehensive Agreement on Political Reforms and Constitutional Reforms during the fifth round of talks on November 25 to 27, 2017 but it was aborted when Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017, “for lack of sincerity,” following a series of NPA attacks including an ambush of a police patrol car in Bukidnon on November 9 that killed four-month old Walysha Manchorao.

Before the cancellation, the two parties had already agreed on three common drafts on general amnesty and release of all political prisoners in compliance with CARHRIHL; coordinated unilateral ceasefires; and part I Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and part II National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) of CASER.

Sison said the agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development are the most important features of the CASER, dubbed as the “heart and soul” of GRP-NDF peace negotiations.

He added both parties have already drafted an agreement on the coordinated ceasefires, a significant step towards the Comprehensive Agreement on the End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (CAEHDF).

Sison said the framework agreement “requires that no side shall impose on the other side preconditions that negate the character and purpose of peace negotiations.”

“As a matter of course, the two panels shall reaffirm all the existing agreements by way of ending the previous termination of the peace negotiations. It logically follows that the two panels shall cooperate in doing away with the obstacles and hindrances to the agreements and to the entire peace process,” he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (PAPP) secretary Jesus Dureza said Duterte wants to give GRP-NDFP peace talks “another last chance.”

“President Duterte directed during the Cabinet meeting today to work on the resumption of peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF with clear instructions on the importance of forging a ceasefire agreement to stop mutual attacks and fighting while talks are underway,” Dureza said.

In a speech during the inauguration of Lisap Bridge Project in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, Duterte said he wants the peace talks with the rebel group to resume but urged the communist guerillas to stop extortion as well as attacks against the properties of the civilian businessmen.

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