Resuming peace negotiations with Aquino or next president

Interview with Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Correspondent, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 21, 2013

DELFIN T. MALLARI, Jr. (DTM): Is there really no more chance for the resumption of the peace negotiations under the Benigno Aquino III administration?

Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON (JMS): The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) policy is to negotiate with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration, Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and other agreements. The Aquino regime is responsible for paralyzing the peace negotiations by refusing to comply with these agreements.

DTM: If there really is no more chance, would this mean that the Filipino people would need to wait three years before the resumption of peace talks? That is, if the next president would be interested in peace talks.
JMS: The Aquino regime is responsible for blocking the peace negotiations and is in contempt of the people who desire a just and lasting peace. In fact, the Aquino regime announced last April 2013 that it had already terminated the peace negotiations. Please look at the pertinent back issue of your newspaper. The NDFP does not take responsibility for the decision of the current or next president of the GPH to resume the peace negotiations or not.

DTM: If presidential elections were to occur tomorrow – and most likely even is 2016 – there would be only two possible main contenders: Jojo Binay and Mar Roxas. In your view, as peace consultant of the NDFP, who is more likely to resume peace talks and be successful at it? What would be your basis for saying so?

JMS: As Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations, I am not in the business or game of publicly estimating or predicting who is the next GPH president. Whoever is the next president, he or she will consider peace negotiations as an option in the face of the worsening social and political crisis, and the growing strength of the people's armed revolutionary movement for national liberation and democracy.
DTM: At the minimum, what are the demands of the NDFP to the GRP for you to return to the negotiating table?

JMS: It is the Aquino regime that has run away from peace negotiations. The NDFP can resume peace negotiations even with the Aquino regime if it shows respect for and comply with existing agreements. The agreements require that the GPH fulfill its obligations regarding the substantive agenda of the negotiations, the safety and immunity guarantees for NDFP peace consultants, and the release of political prisoners falsely accused of common crimes. These are not unilateral demands or preconditions by the NDFP. They are obligations of the GPH stipulated by agreements between the GPH and NDFP.

DTM: On your part, if the GRP gives in to your demands, what would the NDFP-CPP-NPA be prepared to grant in return?

JMS: The NDFP is not asking for anything outside of the existing agreements and is not offering anything outside of the same agreements, which have been mutually approved and signed. You or anyone else should not make it appear that the NDFP is begging for any favor from a reactionary government that refuses to fulfill its obligations and dishonors its own signature on solemnly made agreements.