COMMUNIST Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria C. Sison has warned consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as well as “the Filipino people” about President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan to form a new panel to negotiate with communist rebels.

“The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Filipino people should be alert to Duterte’s militarist purposes in announcing that he wishes to reopen the peace talks with the use of a militarized negotiating panel under the militarized office of the presidential adviser, General Galvez,” said Mr. Sison in a statement on Sunday evening, April 14.

Mr. Duterte said last month he is ending the peace negotiations and told communist rebels to just talk to the next administration.

This time, the President said he wants a peace panel to be composed of at least two civilians and three military officials.

“I will look for a new one. A new way, a new person to talk. Maybe two, or one from military and then maybe around … Five. Two civilians, three military,” Mr. Duterte said at a campaign rally in Bukidnon last Saturday.

In response, Mr. Sison said: “The NDFP does not want to be baited into accepting a war panel of the Duterte regime whose purpose is merely to seek the impossible, such as the surrender of the revolutionary forces, especially the New People’s Army.”

The exiled communist leader said the President should answer first the question, “Why did he terminate the peace negotiations and annul all agreements painstakingly made since the The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992?”

Mr. Sison added that Mr. Duterte should also explain why he terminated the government’s section of the Joint Monitoring Committee formed under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Humans Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

“The NDFP must remind Duterte that he cannot dictate the terms of whatever kind of negotiations he seeks from the revolutionary movement of the people,” said Mr. Sison.

Mr. Duterte is “merely play-acting in the name of peace while carrying out an all-out war and scheming to rig the May 2019 elections,” the exiled rebel leader added.

For his part, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Col. Noel J. Detoyato said in a message to reporters on Monday, “We are prepared to offer not only the hand of peace but the whole arm if need be. But first, Mr. Sison has to show sanity and coherence. He must also accept the fact that there are many roads towards peace but the road he has taken is not one of them…..The problem is here and not in the Netherlands.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras