By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

COMMUNIST PARTY of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria C. Sison blamed anew the military for the delay in peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

“In the experience of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in negotiating with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), the reactionary pro-US military officers at the highest level have always interfered to stop the peace negotiations,” Mr. Sison said in a statement on Wednesday, April 17.

The exiled communist leader added: “Under every administration from the Ramos regime to the current Duterte regime, peace negotiations are held only for a few months before the reactionary military diehards intervene to pressure their commander-in-chief to slow down or to declare the suspension or termination of the peace negotiations.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said last month he is ending peace negotiations and told communist rebels to just talk to the next administration. Recently, the President said he wants a peace panel to be composed of at least two civilians and three military officials.

“Under the pressure of the military, Duterte has terminated and practically killed the peace negotiations since he issued Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017. And he has proceeded to drive more nails into the coffin of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” Mr. Sison said.

He said one of the reasons behind the military’s intrusion in the peace talks is that the government “cannot obtain the surrender of the armed revolutionary movement of the people through a protracted and indefinite ceasefire.”

Another reason he cited is that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines “is gaining credit for pushing social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict.”

The CPP founder said of the government’s planned localized peace negotiations: “No one would ever be authorized by the NDFP National Council to negotiate with the GRP or its military under conditions completely under the control of the murderous Duterte regime. And no revolutionary in his right senses would ever surrender himself to the brutal and corrupt enemy.”

Sought for comment, Department of National Defense Spokesperson Arsenio R. Andolong said: “The DND and the AFP have always been supportive of the peace talks. Unfortunately, it is Joma Sison and his cohorts who have used the formal peace talks to delay and take advantage of the ceasefire mechanism to regroup and step-up their deceptive recruitment and exploitation of vulnerable sectors.”

Mr. Andolong added, “He and his now tiny band of misguided loyalists had 50 years to really show their love for our country and fellow Filipinos but they failed by engaging in deception and terror.”