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Sison: Panels determined to agree on road map to lasting peace

Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison is confident that the revival of peace talks between the government and the insurgents will finally result in a lasting peace in the country.

Sison said peace panels from the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) were determined to wrap up a “mutually agreed” peace agreement.

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This agreement, he said, covers amnesty for all political prisoners listed by the NDFP, as well as key parts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser), such as agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development.

Encouraged by principals

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“This time they are determined to agree on a road map to the success of the entire peace process before the end of 2018. Obviously, they enjoy the encouragement of their respective principals,” said Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, in an online interview from his base in the Netherlands.

Sison said both parties were trying to make up for lost time following the government’s unilateral termination of the talks in November last year.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday gave the rebels a 60-day timeline to return to the negotiating table, even promising to host the talks.

The President had promised to end the nearly 50-year Maoist rebellion, which has killed more than 40,000 people, by finding a political solution.

Terrorist tag

In February, his administration petitioned a court to declare the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, terrorist organizations. It also sought to tag about 600 people, including about two dozen rebel consultants, as terrorists.

Sison urged both parties to “better work hard in the face of the worsening socioeconomic and political crisis” in the country and in the world.

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Meanwhile, the NDFP in far south Mindanao region said two of its peace consultants had been missing for over a month now and suspected that state agents were behind their disappearance.

Marcella Arsenio, the group’s spokesperson, said couple Lora Manipis and Jeruel Domingo “vanished without a trace” in Kidapawan City on Feb. 24 while preparing for activities related to the NDFP’s call for the resumption of talks. —Wtih a report from from Eldie Aguirre

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TAGS: communist rebels, CPP, Joma Sison, Jose Maria Sison, NDFP, NPA, Philippine peace talks, Rodrigo Duterte
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