MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels are banking on “sane and reasonable sections” of government to” prevail over “the mad drive of (President Rodrigo) Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations.”
Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, said Duterte’s refusal to resume negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which represents the rebels, was mean to “justify martial law and fascist dictatorship.”
Stressing the rebels were “always willing to negotiate peace” with Duterte or someone else, Sison, who is now chief political consultant of the NDFP, said: “It takes two sides in the current civil war in the Philippines to agree to negotiate with each other and arrive at comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms to lay the basis of a just and lasting peace.”
At the moment, he said, “there is nothing the NDFP can do but to pursue the people´s democratic revolution through protracted people´s war which is now accelerated by the escalation of oppression and exploitation under the US-Duterte regime.”
Sison’s statement followed Malacañang’s announcement that Duterte was not inclined to resume talks despite a visit from Idun Tvedt, a special envoy of Norway, which has acted as third-party facilitator to the peace negotiations.
Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, told reporters that while Duterte remained “committed to peace,” he saw no reason to resume negotiations with the communists because they “have no sincerity.”
But Sison said it was Duterte who “kept on terminating the peace negotiations (three times!) “by raising to the press complaints which he should have submitted through his panel to the Joint Monitoring Committee in the same manner that the NDFP had submitted to this body bigger and more serious complaints” of government ceasefire violations, including the “bombing of communities.”
Sison also noted that the last time Duterte scrapped the talks, both sides “were making significant progress” on discussions of socio-economic reforms.
Duterte, who once styled himself the country’s first “leftist” president and claimed to have close relations with the communists, broke off talks with the rebels and has vowed to crush them and groups he accuses of being “legal fronts” of the underground movement.