MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will not give in to the preconditions set by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison for the possible resumption of peace negotiations, Malacañang said on Friday.
“Sabi ni Presidente, kung ayaw niya (Sison), eh ‘di huwag (The President said if he does not want it, then he’s fine with it),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters. “(It will be) no deal.”
In a message for the CPP’s 51st founding anniversary, Sison said the communists’ holiday truce with government troops until Jan. 7, 2020 is aimed at creating an environment “favorable to the resumption of peace negotiations.”
Sison also said the planned revival of talks can only be realized “by reaffirming the mutual agreements since the Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, by superseding the presidential issuances that previously terminated and prevented peace negotiations, and by laying the ground for the Interim Peace Agreement.”
The communist founder said the interim peace deal should be a package of agreements, which include the “general amnesty and release of all political prisoners; the approval of articles of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, particularly those on agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development; and coordinated unilateral ceasefires.”
Panelo said Sison has no right to make demands for the possible resumption of peace talks between the national government and the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
He added that Sison appeared to have no interest to revive the peace negotiations, as the communist leader tends to use the temporary ceasefire to “reorganize and strengthen” the CPP’s armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA).
“In the first place, he doesn’t have the right to demand. Pinagbibigyan na nga sila. Sila ang humihingi, hindi naman si Presidente (It’s the President who’s giving them the chance. They are the ones who asked for it, not the President),” Panelo said.
“Humingi sila, dami silang pinapupunta kay Presidente na ituloy ang peace talks, nag-lobby sa mga senador, Congress, kaya pinagbigyan sila ni Presidente (They sent their emissaries to the President for the resumption of peace talks. They lobbied for talks through senators, Congress, that’s why the President gave them a chance),” he added.
Earlier this month, Duterte expressed willingness to give the peace talks another chance, despite his Nov. 23, 2017 signing of Proclamation 360, which formally shelved the peace talks between the national government’s peace negotiators and NDF consultants.
The President admitted that he could not be totally harsh on the communists because he considers them as his “friends.”
The CPP-NPA is branded as a terror group by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Source: By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, Philippine News Agency
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