Jose Maria Sison warns gov’t of increased NPA offensives
The Aquino administration is really asking for it.
Renewing his verbal attacks on the Aquino government from his Dutch aerie, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison warned of increased offensives throughout the country from the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, as a result of the government’s allegedly unilateral termination of the peace talks.
The government is “asking for intensified tactical offensives by the NPA” when it declared an end to the negotiations, Sison said in an e-mail interview from Utrecht, The Netherlands.
As a result, the CPP, NPA, NDF—or the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the CPP—and other revolutionary forces will strengthen their “strategic defensive posture,” said Sison, who is also the NDF’s chief political consultant.
“The tactical offensives of the NPA full-time fighters, people’s militia, armed city partisans and its newly announced commando units (are being) intensified,” he said.
Not yet officially dead
On Thursday, Sison and other communist leaders deplored the “death” of the peace talks after Teresita Quintos Deles, the presidential adviser on the peace process, declared that the government would no longer pursue the negotiations with the NDF but would instead use a “new approach” to ending the decades-long Maoist insurgency.
They insisted that the talks were not yet officially dead as the NDF had not received a written notice of termination from the government as agreed on by both sides and stipulated in the joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees (Jasig) signed in 1995.
“There was absolutely no talk about termination of the peace talks. Nor was there talk of the special track being killed,” Luis Jalandoni, the NDF peace panel head, said in a separate statement issued Friday.
Malacañang has denied this, insisting that the NDF had been so informed and notified.
The so-called special track of negotiations, reportedly proposed by the communists, involved a ceasefire and would have required that the rebels give up preconditions for the talks to resume. The government now claims that the NDF had backtracked and demanded last February that its detained leaders or so-called “peace consultants” be released before talks could resume.
In his e-mail interview Friday, Sison derided the government’s “new approach” to the peace process, which he said involved the so-called “localized peace talks” designed to entice the NPA rebels to surrender.
He claimed this would lead to fake negotiations and bogus mass surrenders that would pave the way for officials to pocket money from the government in the name of fake surrenderees.
In a statement Friday, the CPP maintained its position that joint agreements forged in more than 20 years of negotiations should remain in effect and be respected by both sides.
The CPP identified these agreements as The Hague Joint Declaration of 1990, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998, the Jasig and other critical agreements.”
It said it was still awaiting a formal notification from the government terminating the formal peace negotiations.
“[The] Aquino [administration] is showing great discourtesy and lack of manners when it unilaterally terminates the talks relentlessly pursued over the past 20 years through irresponsible statements issued through the media,” it said.
“Deles is lying when she claims that the (Norwegian government, the talks’ facilitator) had already been informed of the termination of the talks when she said that they had ‘mutually established’ in discussions with the (Norwegian) ambassador that the NDF had supposedly ‘killed’ the special track and that the government is no longer willing to go back to the regular track (the formal negotiations),” the CPP said.
It said government claims that the NDF had imposed preconditions for the resumption of formal talks were “malicious.”
The demand for the release of all NDF “peace consultants” was “not a matter of precondition, but a matter of obligation of the government under the Jasig,” the CPP said.
It said the government’s chief negotiator, Alex Padilla, was “lying through his teeth when he claimed that the revolutionary forces demanded an end to the (government’s) so-called ‘poverty alleviation’ programs as a precondition for the resumption of formal peace negotiations.”
The CPP statement said the NDF had never asserted that the peace talks should be preconditioned on putting an end to the conditional cash transfer and Pamana programs, which it said were “nothing but worn-out counter-insurgency schemes designed by the US military and funded by the World Bank.”
“It is reprehensible that (President) Aquino’s officials have resorted to blatant lies in their vain effort to justify their act of terminating the formal peace negotiations,” the CPP statement said.
Rights abuses continue
Negotiations between the communist rebels and the government have been stalled since 2004, giving rise to continued human rights violations, according to human rights watchdog Karapatan.
In the two years of the Aquino presidency, Karapatan said it has documented 137 victims of extrajudicial killings, including 14 victims of enforced disappearances, 72 of torture, and 269 of illegal arrests, mostly attributed to state security forces.
A military report on the other hand said nearly 400 people, the majority of them civilians, have been killed in encounters between NPA and government troops and other alleged atrocities since 2011.
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