• Joma Sison off the European terror list


    PRESIDENTIAL Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza returned to Manila on Monday after the resumption of talks with communist rebels, announcing that Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison has been removed from the European Union listing of terrorists.

    But the CPP, its armed wing the New People’s Army, and political arm the National Democratic Front (NDF) remain classified by the EU as a terrorist group, he said.

    Nonetheless, Dureza is confident both sides will achieve peace given a “high level of confidence.”

    “In a peace process, every agreement is a foundation. It is a brick on a building that one must build from. Just like lovers, you have to build on that relationship, trust, and it takes time,” Dureza said in a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    Dureza, along with Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan, arrived from the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway aboard a Thai Airways flight.

    Pamintuan, who is a government peace panel adviser, said Sison expressed a desire to conclude the negotiations in six months.

    But the government expects the process to take eight months, he said.

    Dureza cautioned that the peace process would have bumps along the way and there would be a lot of “sensitive issues.”

    The negotiating panels of the Philippine government and the NDF reached agreements on six major items, he recalled.

    These are: reaffirmation of previous agreements, reconstitution of the list of NDF members covered by safe passes under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, acceleration of peace negotiations, release of NDF consultants, a government amnesty proclamation for prisoners listed by the NDF, and an indefinite ceasefire.

    Both parties agreed to resume talks on October 8 to 12 in Oslo.

    The government panel is looking toward a final peace agreement with the NDF to end almost half a century of armed hostilities in the Philippine countryside.


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    1. There are thousands of Filipino people that still have doubts on the indefinite ceasefire that both parties have agreed upon. Are the NPA’s foot soldiers will continue their extortion activities in remote villages without the interference of government armed forces? Are the AFP and PNP give protection to the inhabitants of remote villages that are victims of extortions by the NPA on almost daily basis? Can the NPA and AFP engage with the NPA when doing criminal activities?

      NDF are concerned about their security, amnesty and safety guarantee that will be extended to them, once the peace agreement is finalized and formalized in the next few months. The government representatives should already know what they can give, there are things that have limitations, and there are other things that cannot be given or non-negotiable. Political activist and criminals have two different motives, and by definitions, the government negotiators must be able to distinguish between the two. Bottom line: Do not give amnesty, pardon nor safe passaget to criminals.

      Lastly, the government negotiators must understand that they are representing over 100 million of Filipino people and they should realized that the people will not be at disadvantaged nor short changed. If for some reason that the NPA’s wanted their own land, that’s fine; cultivate those government land in Marawi and Sulu. During the Magsaysay Administration, he offered lands in Mindanao to those HUKBALAHAP in Northern Luzon, that is the reason why there are many Ilocanos in Mindanao.