Joma: I’ll be home in July
LUCENA CITY—Barring a major setback, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison will be back home in July, in time for the release of political prisoners in the general amnesty promised by presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“I will probably go to Manila in July to celebrate the release of the political prisoners and the approval by the principals of the formal agreement or declaration earlier forged by the negotiating panels to resume the peace negotiations,” Sison said in an online interview from his base in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Tuesday.
He said representatives of the incoming Duterte administration and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) may consult with each other and prepare drafts that may be finalized at the resumption of formal talks in July.
Last week, NDFP representative Fidel Agcaoili met with Duterte and discussed initial steps for reopening the peace talks.
The NDFP, the political arm of the CPP, and the national government have been engaged in on-and-off negotiations the past 27 years but peace has remained elusive.
On Monday, Duterte reiterated to reporters that he would grant amnesty and pardons to political detainees as part of confidence-building measures to bring the communist rebels back to the negotiating table and end over four decades of armed conflict.
“This is a highly significant and noble act of goodwill. It promotes the peace negotiations,” Sison said.
He said the NDFP peace panel members were “inspired” by the promised release of all political prisoners.
“They are ready to meet in Oslo as early as June with the negotiators of President-elect Duterte,” Sison said. The Norwegian government is brokering the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP.
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