CPP founder Sison sets two conditions for his homecoming

  • Chief of the National Democratic Front of Philippines (NDFP) Jose Maria Sison answers journalists’ questions during the opening ceremony of the formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the (NDFP) in Rome on 19 January 2017. The Philippines expressed hope of securing a permanent ceasefire deal with communist rebels waging one of Asia’s longest insurgencies, as peace talks resumed in Italy. / AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI

Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison has expressed his willingness to return to his native home country in response to President Rodrigo Duterts’s invitation, but on two conditions, The Manila Times Online reported .

In his statement released on Monday (April 23), Sison laid out his two conditions, firstly, there must be significant progress in the peace talks with the government and, secondly, his security must be ensured.

Sison referred to the 1992 declaration between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines that peace negotiations must be in accordance with mutually acceptable principles and that there should be on preconditions that may “negate” the purpose of the talks.

He expressed confidence that that the government and the NDFP peace panel would be able to produce documents necessary for the resumption of negotiations “in the next few weeks”.

Sison also said there should be a drafting of mutually satisfactory agreements on the ceasefire and amnesty for political prisoners as well as the parts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms on agrarian reform, rural development, national industrialization and economic development.

He said the agreements should be signed and approved within the 60-day time frame set by President Duterte.

The CPP founder, however, warned there could be “spoilers” out to undermine the peace negotiations if he returned earlier than necessary.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former police chief Ronald de Rosa had opposed the resumption of peace talks with the communists.  However, Lorenzana has softened his stance after Duterte ordered presidential peace advisor Jesus Dureza to restart negotiations.