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By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
24 January 2008

It is lamentable that the Arroyo regime has refused to heed the call of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) for the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), without preconditions and in accordance with prior agreements from The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 to the Oslo Joint Statements of 2004.

Through its highest officials, the Arroyo regime has reiterated its intransigent position that the revolutionary movement must be destroyed militarily and that the resumption of talks must be preconditioned by the immediate silencing or pacification of the people's army. The regime seeks to avoid negotiations on basic social, economic and political reforms and to give its military and police forces all the leeway to perpetrate human rights violations with impunity.

Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, has welcomed the call of the PEPP for the resumption of peace talks and has reiterated the long standing position of the NDFP that there can be exploratory talks immediately to ensure compliance with the existing agreements between the GRP and NDFP, undo the impediments that have been put up by the GRP under the Arroyo regime and thus pave the way for the resumption of formal talks.

Unlike the officials of the Arroyo regime, Jalandoni has shown respect for the call of the PEPP. This ecumenical formation includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men and Women in the Philippines (AMRSP), and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC).

The Arroyo regime is reprehensible for constantly boasting of its ability to destroy the revolutionary forces of the people and thereby challenging them to intensify the people's war. The regime is always trying to conceal the dismal failures of Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 and distract the people's attention from the ever worsening crisis of the local ruling system and the world capitalist system.###

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