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Joma Sison nixes terms of new talks

LUCENA CITY — The government and the communist rebels should not dictate the composition of both negotiating panels in the peace talks, said exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Sunday.

“Duterte is out of order if he insists that he dictates who [would] compose the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) negotiating panel, advisers and consultants. Likewise, the NDFP cannot go over his head and dictate the composition of the GRP (government) negotiating panel, advisers and consultants,” Sison said in an online interview from Utrecht in the Netherlands.

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Possible resumption

Sison made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday declared that he was opening the door again for the possible resumption of the peace negotiation between his administration and the NDFP, the representative of the communist insurgents in the on-and-off peace talks with the government since 1986.

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However, the President made it clear that he did not want to hold talks with the communist rebels if they would still be represented by Sison, current NDFP chair Fidel Agcaoili and NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalandoni.

He said Sison was “hopeless,” while Agcaoili and Jalandoni were more difficult to talk with due to their legalese mindsets.

Sison countered that “the principals of both negotiating panels must be level-headed and respect the simple ground rules of negotiations.”

“Duterte needs a lot of learning from his more experienced negotiators so that the peace negotiations can be resumed and proceed properly,” Sison, now serving as the NDFP chief political consultant, said.

Peace talks bogged down in November last year after the administration accused the New People’s Army rebels, the CPP’s armed wing, of continued attacks against state troops.

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TAGS: communist rebels, CPP, Fidel Agcaoili, Joma Sison, Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni, Peace Talks, Rodrigo Duterte
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