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Duterte closes door for permanent truce – Sison

Communist leader Jose Maria Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS)

LUCENA CITY – Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison said the communist rebels wanted to peacefully end the five decades of armed rebellion, but President Duterte and the government forces have only themselves to blame for its failure.

“Duterte and his armed minions have only themselves to blame for the repeated terminations of peace negotiations that Duterte declared and for making preconditions such as the surrender of the NPA; the laying aside of the people’s demand for social, economic and political reforms; and the self-destruction of the revolutionary movement,” he said in a statement from his base in Utrecht, the Netherlands on Wednesday.

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Sison issued the statement after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government wanted a “permanent truce” with the communist rebels and not only a short-lived ceasefire during Christmas season.

Panelo said the Duterte administration has yet to decide whether or not it would observe a holiday truce with the Maoist-inspired guerrillas.

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“Now comes the abrupt proposal for a permanent ceasefire from the direction of the Duterte regime,” Sison said.

He argued that within the first half of the six-year Duterte term, “it was possible not only to have a permanent ceasefire but even a just and lasting peace based on social, economic and political reforms.”

He said Duterte would have gotten a ceasefire longer than the nearly six months from August 2016 to January 2017 during the initial rounds of the peace talks that yielded productive results.

“And the peace negotiations would have advanced fast and smoothly,” Sison said.

He recalled that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was already openly expecting that the comprehensive peace agreements would have been made before the end of 2018.

The NDFP is the umbrella group of all communist-led underground organizations that have been conducting on-and-off peace talks with the government since 1986.

“But whenever the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms moved forward, Duterte always came up with a surprise declaration of termination,” Sison said.

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The peace negotiation under the Duterte administration started on a high note after four rounds of negotiations.

But on Nov. 23 last year, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 that terminated the peace talks with the NDFP.

Eleven days later on Dec. 4, he issued Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP and its military wing, the New People’s Army rebels terrorist organizations.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, CPP, duterte, Joma, Jose Maria Sison, Local news, National Democratic Front, NDF, New People’s Army, NPA, Peace Talks, Philippine News
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