AUGUST 17, 2016 — Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison today thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his efforts to secure the temporary release of consultants of the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP) so they can join the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway next week.
In a statement released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) today, Sison said despite previous glitches in their communications, he and Duterte remain good friends.
“Our friendship has a strong basis in longstanding cooperation and in a common desire to serve the national and democratic rights and best interests of the Filipino people,” he said.
“I am grateful to President Duterte for his acts of goodwill to move forward the peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP,” he added.
Sison noted that Duterte made possible the release of the NDFP consultants from prison and, together with government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel members, met with the NDFP lawyers and consultants last Monday.
Sison said he and Duterte will “be in touch with each other” during the formal talks in Oslo as they intend to perform their respective parts in order to make the talks successful and beneficial to the people.
Duterte had vowed to reopen peace negotiations as a campaign promise during the May 2016 elections.
But a series of armed encounters and polemics between the government apparently exasperated the President, who threatened to call off the peace negotiations if the NPA continues to launch offensives and ambuscades against government troops.
Duterte and Sison then engaged each other in a sharp exchange of words, which was seen by some as a sign that the peace talks would not push through.
But during the meeting last Monday in Malacañang, Labor Secretary Sylvestre Bello, who heads the government panel negotiating with the NDFP, said Duterte “gave assurances that he will walk the extra mile for peace.”
He also said the President assured NDFP lawyers that their consultants will be allowed to fly to Oslo.
The NDFP representatives present during the meeting with Duterte were former Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo, NDFP panel member Fidel Agcaoili, and NDFP lawyer Edre Olalia.
Also present during the meeting were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) commissioner Jaime Morante.
Among those allowed by the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City to join the peace talks are Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, chair and secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), respectively.
Government panel member lawyer Angela Librado-Trinidad said Duterte has instructed the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to assist the NDFP consultants who will be traveling to Norway over the weekend.