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Joma says GRP, NDF panels initially ok'd proposed joint statement to combat terrorists
Hours after President Rodrigo Duterte warned of arresting communist leaders who will return from the Netherlands, Jose Maria Sison said the peace panels would have issued a joint statement on the fight against terrorism earlier.
Sison, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Chief Political Consultant, said the peace panels initially agreed to work on a draft stating that the Parties are taking a united stand against the Maute group.
Sison proposed to make a statement that even when the fifth round of talks was suspended pending the issues raised by both sides, they would proceed to go forward from the fight against terrorists.
"I proposed that we make a statement, from here on we unite," Sison told reporters in a press conference yesterday.
Sison said GRP peace panel chair Silvestre Bello III suggested that the NDFP would make the draft of the joint statement.
"Yun ang proposal (na) tinanggap nila. Pero maya-maya bandang hapon nareverse yung agreement ni Bebot Bello (That was the proposal to which they agreed, but later in the afternoon the agreement with Sec. Bello was reversed)," he said.
A portion of the statement reads that the parties: "agree to stand together to oppose and fight terrorism, terrorist groups and acts of terrorism."
"We condemn and are resolved to determine to counteract the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups," it said.
Had the parties signed the joint statement, Agcaoili said "the details could have been worked out."
He said the Moro Revolutionary Liberation Organization, a group within the NDFP, would be willing to help out.
Sison also floated the idea of redeploying NPA fighters near Marawi City which the Maute is occupying.
Sison claimed that the Maute and the Abu Sayyaf Group are backed by the CIA, who he said, created ISIS.
On Saturday morning, NDFP Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni announced in an interview that the GRP did not want to proceed with the fifth round of talks.
Later in the afternoon, the GRP called for a press conference where Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza read his prepared opening statement stating that the government panel will not participate to the fifth round of the formal talks after the CPP ordered the intensification of attacks by the New People's Army amid the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
The said statement was relayed to the NDFP who were supposed to issue a reply after their meeting.
The GRP wanted the CPP to rescind their order to the NPA. The NDFP panel said they have already recommended it to the CPP.
The parties were still trying to resolve the issue even after the GRP's announcement. But the cancellation of the fifth round was sealed on Sunday evening. Dureza and Bello announced that the position of the government not to proceed with the talks remains since there was no "compelling reason" provided by the communists.
On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a warning to negotiators that he will arrest their leaders whom he released in August upon their return from The Netherlands.
He said he will also arrest the elderly political prisoners whom he released.
"Kayong mga komunista, you are just wasting your time. You cannot prevail over the Government of the Republic of the Philippines neither can you find a sanctuary under a communist rule," Duterte said.
The fifth round of talks was supposed to tackle the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and political and constitutional reforms.
Prior to the fifth round of talks, the Parties held three bilateral team meetings on CASER. The bilateral teams were composed in order to accelerate the negotiations on items including land distribution and national industrialization.
The NDFP said if the President would implement his warning, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which protects the NDFP peace consultants and the peace negotiations "in effect" will be terminated.
[Source: By Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano, Davao Today, Manila, 01Jun17]
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