NDF denies Joma sick, dying
LUCENA CITY – The head of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel called National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon as a purveyor of fake news when he reported that exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is sick and dying.
Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP peace panel chair, said Sison was very well and has fully recovered from his arthritis last year.
“He is up and about, conducting interviews here and there with journalists, student scholars, academics and foreign solidarity friends,” Agcaoili said in a statement on Saturday.
He said Sison was also busy issuing statements “on the brewing Duterte fascist dictatorship in the Philippines” as NDFP chief political consultant, as well as on significant events in the world as chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS).
“His (Sison) mind remains as sharp as ever and his analysis of political situations as incisive, brilliant and comprehensive as before,” Agcaoili said.
On Friday, Esperon made the claim that Sison was sick and dying. But he declined to go into details of Sison’s supposed ill condition.
On Saturday morning, the 79-year-old Sison sent to the Inquirer a recent photo of himself in the company of Agcaoili and a Filipino couple taken at the NDFP information office in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
He captioned the photo with “Do I look seriously ill?”
Local peace talks
Agcaoili also reiterated the NDFP opposition against the so-called localized peace talks being pursued by the government.
Ka Oris, New People’s Army-National Operations Command spokesman, declared that communist rebels nationwide would not participate in the local peace talks and instead vowed to launch more attacks against government forces.
“NPA units at all levels will not entertain localized peace talks but will certainly respect all agreements entered into by the NDFP,” Ka Oris said in a statement Friday. He vowed that the NPA would continue to launch offensives against state security forces.
“As the true people’s army, in the face of the intensifying brutality of the “Oplan Kapayapaan,” we are duty-bound to launch tactical offensives as an act of self-defense and in defense of the people and the gains of the revolution,” Ka Oris said.
Ka Oris branded the localized peace talks as a “deceitful war ploy” that aims to crush the insurgents.
“It is pure counterinsurgency pretending to talk about peace,” he said.
According to Ka Oris, the main purpose of local peace negotiations is “to sow distrust, disunity and discord among the revolutionary ranks by pitting the local forces against the national leadership, one part against another, and the masses against the movement”.
He said the Duterte administration does not desire peace talks but just the unconditional surrender of the NPA forces.
“A true people’s army will never surrender and compromise the interest of the people,” he stressed.
The Duterte administration was pushing for localized peace talks with the communist guerrillas on the ground after the negotiations between the NDFP and the government bogged down anew last month.