EXCLUSIVE: Joma says peace talks in Manila ‘will be a big problem,’ denies coming back to PH

Marje Pelayo   •   June 21, 2018   •   3732

CPP Founder and NDFP Chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison

 

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – Communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison said he is amenable to President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to resume peace talks between the Philippine government (GPH) and his group in pursuit of lasting peace in the country.

However, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is adamant that he will not come back to the Philippines for the talks, contrary to reports that he has agreed to return to the country sometime in August this year.

“Kung maaantala ang peace negotiations ng one, two or three months, hindi problema. Pero malaking problema kapag pilitin ni Duterte na sa Manila ang venue,” Sison said in an exclusive interview with UNTV News in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Wednesday, June 20.

Sison insists that peace talks should be done on a neutral ground with the presence of a third party facilitator as stated in The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He admitted that he is fed up with the peace deal being shuttled back and forth. Still, he said, the communist group tries to understand all the reasons given by  the GPH peace panel for the series of cancellations.

“Kahit na disappointing and frustrating iyong pag kansela, kung postponement lamang ang gusto ng gobyerno ni Duterte at sa neutral venue pa rin gagawin ang peacetalks at ang Royal Norweigan Government pa rin ang third party facilitator, ay walang problema,” he explained.

Sison claims Duterte seems to be unaware of the actions of the government negotiating panel. It would explain, he said, why the President had been flip-flopping on whether or not to resume the peace deal.

“Lalo na ang principal mukhang hindi niya nasusundan ang ginagawa ng mga kinatawan niya. Pero sabi naman ng mga kinatawan niya, wala silang sinasabi at kinikilos na hindi aprubado ng principal nila,” Sison said referring to Duterte and the GPH negotiators.

Despite the uncertainties, the self-exiled leader remains positive that time will come that the two parties will resolve differences and finally end the country’s decade-long communist insurgency. — Cynthia Teruel / Marje Pelayo

Duterte to listen to public’s sentiment on VFA issue

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.

Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President), he said.

Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to visit areas affected by ‘Auring’—Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit areas affected by the onslaught of tropical depression Auring, Malacañang announced on Tuesday (February 23).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in an online briefing said the President wants to see firsthand the damage wrought by Auring and the situation of displaced residents. Duterte will visit the affected areas in the Caraga region accompanied by several members of the Cabinet.

Nograles reported that financial aid has already been given to the residents. He further assured that additional relief assistance will also be provided.

As of February 22, the number of families affected by Auring has reached 28,009. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte certifies as urgent bills expediting purchase of COVID-19 vaccine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent two proposed measures that seek to expedite the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. confirmed.

On Thursday (February 18), Galvez announced that the President has certified as urgent two proposed legislations: Senate Bill 2057 or An act expediting the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); and House Bill 8648 or Proposed Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021.

“Pinirmahan na po ng ating mahal na pangulo ang pag-sertipika ng panukalang batas as urgent. Nag-usap po kami kanina kasama po si Senator Bong Go at magandang balita po na talagang napirmahan na po niya ang Senate Bill na nakikita natin na makatutulong po sa atin, he said.

Senatre Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, in a statement, said the Senate will try to pass the bill on second and third reading by Monday.

Meanwhile, the President has also approved a memorandum order that will authorize the local government to provide advance payments exceeding 15% of the total contract amount for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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