‘Delisting of NPA can form part of talks’

Incoming National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the suggestion to request the United States government to remove the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, from its list of terrorist organizations should be part of the renewed peace negotiations.

Esperon said this call from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan to the government of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte can be settled by the negotiating panels of both sides.

“There should be no pre-conditions [for the resumption of the talks]. Having said that, the National Democratic Front can bring up the issue on the negotiating table and it should be part of the peace talks,” the former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said in a brief phone interview.

The government panel is headed by the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza while Luis Jalandoni is representing the NDF in the negotiations.

Esperon said that sincerity on both sides is key to hammering out a final peace agreement that will finally end hostilities between the government and the NPA that have gone on for more than 47 years, making the conflict the longest-running communist armed struggle in Asia.

During his time as military chief of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Esperon promised to eliminate the NPA. Florante Solmerin

Last Saturday, Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. called for the delisting as both negotiating panels prepared to meet for preliminary talks in Oslo, Norway.

The US State Department has included the NPA in its list of 58 foreign terror organizations, a list that also includes the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“The US once again hopes to use the terrorist listing as a form of intervention in an internal matter and to cast a cloud of doubt even before the talks begin,” Reyes said in a statement.

During a press conference via Skype last June 3, CPP founder and NDF political consultant Jose Maria Sison expressed optimism that a final peace agreement would be achieved under the Duterte administration Sison said he coming home after 30 years of self-exile in Utrecht, Netherlands once a peace pact is in place.

Source: The Standard