Jose Maria Sison said Philippine rebels will no longer talk peace with government and will now focus its energy on ousting President Rodrigo Duterte.
“So long as he heads the government, the Filipino people, especially the oppressed and exploited, cannot expect any benefit from negotiating with the Duterte regime,” said Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA).
Sison said there is now a “broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces strong enough” to depose Duterte.
Sison aka Joma, who is in exile in The Netherlands, is the chief consultant to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the communist movements, facing the government in peace negotiations aiming to end the 50-year old communist insurgency.
In a statement posted on the NDFP website on Thursday, June 28, Sison said that “based on the implications drawn from the current impasse, the NDFP can no longer negotiate with a government that is headed by Duterte.”
“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 regime,” Sison said.
Upon his assumption into office middle of 2016, Duterte opened the door for new talks with the communist rebels.
He would cancel planned talks early this year and declared the CPP and NPA as terrorist groups, following rebel attacks on government forces and civilians, as the government panel and the NDFP prepped up for new rounds of talks abroad.
Two months ago, Duterte had a change of heart, proposed resumption of the talks in 60 days but asked Sison to return to the country to join the peace negotiations.
With Sison saying rebels would now joint plots to oust Duterte, the communist leader dumped the President’s invitation for him to return to the country to resume the talks that Duterte said is the “last chance” for the rebels to make peace with government.
Once Duterte is ousted, Sison said the NDFP will continue peace negotiations with the new administration.
He said there were already agreements drafted by the NDFP and the government which “can be carried over to the negotiation… under a new administration.”
The CPP and the NPA, Sison said, are ready to counter the offensives launched by military and police.
On top of that Sison said rebels have “urban-based” oust-Duterte movements and “the broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces (have) become strong enough to call for and cause the ouster of Duterte.”