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Joma slams Duterte’s ‘insulting’ offer to revive peace talks

LUCENA CITY – Instead of welcoming President Duterte’s  offer to reopen the stalled peace talks, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison sees it as an insult to the revolutionary movement.

“The main thrust of his statement is more to insult the revolutionary movement than to express willingness to resume negotiations,” Sison said in a solicited reaction from Utrecht in the Netherlands Friday night.

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Sison made the statement in reaction to President Duterte’s renewed declaration of willingness to reopen the peace negotiation with the communist rebels.

The President, however, imposed a condition that the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, the CPP’s armed wing, should stop its collection of revolutionary taxes which he said is a form of extortion.

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“Stop extorting money and your taxation,” Duterte said in a speech during the Peace and Order Summit for barangay officials in Legazpi City in Albay province.

Duterte also said the government was willing to spend for the peace talks to resume.

“You can come and be billeted in simple hotels because luxury is not for us. You can come in peace, di kayo huhulihin (you won’t be arrested),” he added.

Sison assailed Duterte’s precondition for the resumption of the peace talks and the President tag on the rebel’s revolutionary taxation as a form of extortion.

“He should not call the tax system of the people’s democratic government extortion and should not precondition the negotiations with any demand for said government to commit suicide by giving up a vital governmental function,” Sison asserted.

Sison maintained that the “people’s government needs financial resources for administration and social programs, including public education, land reform, raising production, health and sanitation, people’s self-defense, cultural work, and so on”.

He insisted that through peace negotiations “a new and mutually acceptable government of national unity, peace and development is possible”.

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Peace talks between rebels and the Duterte administration started on a positive note after four rounds of negotiations to bring a peaceful end to the 50-year-old communist rebellion.

But on Nov. 23, 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 that terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella group of all underground communist organizations. The President had accused the CPP-NPA for continued attacks on government forces.

Last month, the President closed all doors to the possible revival of the stalled peace talks./gsg

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TAGS: duterte, Joma Sison, Peace Talks
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