Marcos tackles peace talks with Communist rebels in meeting with Norwegian ambassador

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2022 02:27 PM

MANILA - President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. discussed peace talks with Communist rebels in his meeting with Norwegian officials, Norway's Ambassador to the Philippines said on Wednesday after his courtesy call on the incoming chief executive.

Norwegian Ambassador Bjorn Jahnsen declined to elaborate details of their exchange about the Communist Party of the Philippines, and instead talked about other peace efforts that were tackled in the meeting.

"I wouldn’t use this opportunity to talk so much about what the President-elect said, but yes, we discussed this topic," he told reporters in a press conference.

"What we discussed in most detail on the peace talks was Norway’s engagement in the Bangsamoro," he said, noting that Norway serves as the panel that oversees the decommissioning of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members.

Norway served as a third-party facilitator in peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The CPP and its armed wing the New People's Army were formed in the late '60s during the presidency of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the president-elect's father and namesake.

The organization was created after Jose Maria Sison, who was then a student-activist from the University of the Philippines, pushed to overthrow the Marcos administration in favor of a government led by the working class and the peasantry.

The movement gained support in succeeding years after Marcos ordered a deadly crackdown on student demonstrations in the '70s.

Marcos Sr. also used the attacks of communist rebels as the reason for declaring martial law in 1972, allowing him to rule over the Philippines for several years until he was ousted through a peaceful revolt in EDSA in 1986.

CPP founder Sison eventually went into exile in the Netherlands, and is still living in Utrecht with his wife.

In 2016, the Nordic country hosted preliminary peace talks between President Rodrigo Duterte's negotiating panel and communist leaders.

In 2019, Duterte terminated peace talks with the Communist rebels and slammed the group for their continuous attacks against the military despite ceasefire agreements between the two camps.

Last week, Marcos Jr.'s incoming National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos said that she does not want government to hold peace negotiations with communist rebels.

"We’re done with peace talks. We have agreement on certain things. Let's proceed with that," she told ANC's Headstart.

"Let’s just invite them to be part [of the] change, wag natin sila i-exclude," she said.