MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Thursday, July 5, said that by demanding to hold the next round of peace talks in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is “driving another nail to completely shut down” the talks.
“He knows fully well that the demand to hold talks in the Philippines is unacceptable and unworkable for the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines), unless he thinks the NDFP will be negotiating only to surrender the Filipino people’s aspirations and give up all its revolutionary principles,” the CPP said in a statement sent to Rappler.
The CPP was reacting to chief peace adviser Jesus Dureza’s earlier statement that detailed the President’s conditions for the resumption of peace talks, among them, that the venue of the talks should be “local.”
In his statement, Dureza also said “the doors for the resumption of peace talks with the NDFP are still open.” The CPP called this “an outright lie” and a “desperate PR stunt” to “make it appear that it is the NDFP which closed its doors.”
“Notice that Dureza’s statement does not make any mention at all of the fact that Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation 360 last November 23, 2017, which formally terminated peace negotiations with the NDFP. This proclamation has never been rescinded,” the CPP noted.
“By completely shutting the door to the negotiations, Duterte is laying down the conditions for imposing martial law or a general crackdown, use the terror proscription against the CPP and NPA against his critics and dissenters against his tyranny, and push charter change for pseudo-federalism to perpetuate himself in power.”
The NDFP, the political arm of the CPP which formally represents rebels in talks, has not issued a statement.
On June 28 – the day peace talks were supposed to resume – CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said the NDFP can no longer negotiate with the Duterte administration, adding that it would be “easier and more productive… to participate in the Oust-Duterte movement.”
Following Sison’s pronouncements, Duterte said the government’s operations against the New People’s Army would continue. – Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler.com