Sison quits peace talks

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Chief of the National Democratic Front of Philippines (NDFP) Jose Maria Sison answers journalists' questions during the opening ceremony of the formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the (NDFP) in Rome on 19 January 2017. — AFP

By Dane Angelo M. Enerio

MAHIRAP MAKIPAGUSAP kay Duterte (it is difficult to talk with Duterte).”

So went communist leader Jose Maria Sison’s reason for giving up on peace talks with President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his administration.

“[T]he NDFP can no longer negotiate with a (government) that is headed by Duterte,” he told attendees in a video call at a forum on Thursday. Mr. Sison is the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

He said the government has been “balasubas at hindi marunong sumunod sa mga kasunduan (rough and does not know how to keep its commitments).”

“It is relatively easier and more productive for the NDFP to participate in the oust-Duterte movement and to prepare for peace negotiations with the prospective administration that replaces the Duterte administration,” Mr. Sison also said.

“The Duterte regime is on record as having terminated the peace talks so many times,” he pointed out.

Mr. Duterte, through Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza, announced on June 14 he would postpone talks with communist rebels that were supposed to take place in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday.

Maliwanag siya ang nag-withdraw sa peace negotiations, okey lang. It is clear he was the one who withdraw from the peace negotiations, it’s okay),” Mr. Sison said.

He called on his comrades to “fight the Duterte regime in various forms of struggle.”

Pinagbigyan na si Duterte ng dalawang taon. Tiniis natin. Kung tiisin natin pagkatapos ng dalawang taong panloloko may malaking peligro (Duterte was given two years. We’ve been bearing with that. If we keep up with this after two years of deceit, we are in peril),” Mr. Sison said.

But he also said, “Nothing goes to waste in the work and drafts of agreements already done by the NDFP.”

“They can be carried over to the negotiation with (the government) under a new administration,” he added.

In response, Mr. Duterte told reporters, “Eh di mabuti (Well and good). If they are not willing to talk, that’s fine.”

Kung gusto mo makipag-usap, pumunta ka dito. Kung ayaw mo, eh di huwag (If you want to talk, come here. If you don’t, then don’t),” he said.