Ka Paris freed, will join Oslo peace talks

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – As he stepped out of the Misamis Oriental provincial jail on Wednesday afternoon, August 17, Communist rebel leader Alfredo Mapano, also known as “Ka Paris,” is optimistic that the peace talks between the government and the Maoist rebels will bear fruit after years of being stalled.

Mapano is one of the 22 National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants who was ordered released by Judge Florencia Abbu of the Regional Trial Court branch 17 after paying the P100,000 bail.

Mapano has been imprisoned for close to 7 years, facing multiple counts of criminal charges including murder, robbery and frustrated murder.

Incarcerated since 2009, Mapano finally tasted temporary freedom so he could attend the formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) on August 22. The Royal Norwegian government will be acting as a third-party broker.

Mapano said he doubted he could spend time with his family since he was expected to fly to Norway along with 20 other National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiators as soon as possible.

Mapano has been an NDF peace consultant since the time of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino in 1986.

In a statement, Jose Maria Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, said he was grateful to the Duterte administration for allowing the peace talks to continue after decades of being suspended.

“Once more I am grateful to President Duterte for his acts of goodwill to move forward the peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP,” Sison said.

He maintained that he and the President remain good friends and that “our friendship has a strong basis in previous cooperation of long duration and in a common desire to serve the national and democratic rights and best interests of the Filipino people.”

In the course of the talks in Norway, Sison said he will be in constant contact with Duterte.

“We intend to perform our respective parts in order to make the talks successful and beneficial to our people,” he added.

The government is set to release 22 NDF consultants, listed below: