Sison OK to talk peace, despite seeking Duterte’s ouster
MANILA—Jose Maria Sison on Saturday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to resume peace negotiations with rebels, “despite the determination of the (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) to seek the ouster of this regime.”
“Enemies need peace negotiations before they can become friends or partners for the sake of the Filipino people who desire social, economic and political reforms as basis for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said in a statement.
“Thus, I welcome the statement of Duterte that he is still open to peace negotiations, even as there is still an exchange of hostile words in the mass media and exchange of bullets in the battlefield.”
According to Sison, “it is for the benefit of the people that the peace negotiations resume and stop the Duterte regime from proclaiming martial law nationwide, from calling off or rigging the May 2019 elections and from pursuing the scheme to impose a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people via charter change for a bogus kind of federalism.”
“The NDFP encourages and supports the broad united front and mass movement to oust Duterte from power,” Sison then added.
“Definitely, it appreciates highly the expected intensification of NPA tactical offensives as contributory to the weakening, isolation and overthrow of the Duterte regime.”
The President on Friday said his administration still wants to discuss peace with communist rebels, an announcement that came less than a month after he instructed the military to “destroy” them.
“Ngayon di na kami magkaintindihan ni Sison, pero I’d like you to know we are keeping the fire burning and hindi puwedeng sarahan. You cannot afford to lose all channels of communication. Mag-iwan ka talaga maski maliit,” Duterte said in a situation briefing on the effects of tropical depression Usman in Pili, Camarines Sur.
(Now, Sison and I cannot understand each other anymore. But I’d like you to know we are keeping the fire burning and we cannot close [doors]. You cannot afford to lose all channels of communication. You have to leave even just a little [room].)
Ties between Sison and Duterte soured last year after the President accused communist rebels of continuing their attacks against government troops despite the ongoing peace talks.
Another resumption was scheduled in late June but was canceled, as the government sought to review all agreements entered into by the communists with past administrations.
In November, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 formally ending the government’s peace talks with the communists. A month later, he signed Executive Order No. 70 ordering the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”