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Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison on the Formal GRP-NDFP Talks in OSLO

By Lira Dalangin
Philippine Daily Inquirer

February 2, 2004

kumusta, professor sison.
marie yuvienco told me she's leaving the country soon in time for the resumption of the peace negotiations next week.
when will it officially begin?  will you meet with grp panel in formal negotiations or backdoor talks?
what are we to expect from this meeting? 

Answer:  The formal talks will begin in the morning of Tuesday, 10 February 2004, between the GRP and NDFP.  Norwegian state secretary for foreign affairs Vidar Helgesen will deliver the welcome address and the  GRP and NDFP panel chairmen Silvestre Bello III and Luis Jalandoni will make their opening statements in the morning.  The informal talks in October and November 2003 paved the way for these formal talks.  The formal talks will run until 13 February 2004.

it is apparent president arroyo and her K4 ticket badly need these talks for the campaign because they are currently scoreless when it comes to peace initiatives with your group.  do you share this view? what could be an acceptable, feasible, and concrete settlement/ agreement that can come out of this round of talks?

Answer:  The GRP paralyzed the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations from June 2001 onwards, for nearly three years.   You are correct in observing that the GMA regime has  gone zero in  negotiations with the NDFP for a  long time.  It is high time for GMA to show some interest in the peace negotiations, especially because  it is electoral campaign time and so many people have called for the negotiations. 

I am giving to you the NDFP announcement of the formal talks and  the joint statement  of the GRP and the NDFP.  These indicate to you reasonable expectations from the forthcoming round of formal talks.  Certainly, the following are in the agenda:  reaffirmation of the The Hague Joint Declaration as the framework of negotiations, effective measures to  counter the "terrorist" listing of CPP/NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant, complete formation of the Joint Monitoring Committee in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, resumption of the negotiations on social and economic reforms,  the automatic indemnification of the successful  class and direct action plaintiffs  in the human rights litigation against Marcos and confidence building measures, especially the release of political prisoners.

will you agree if in case the grp panel asks for stop in collections of PTC fees?

Answer:  I think that the question of higher priority is whether  the reactionary government of big compradors and landlords should tax the people and waste the money on servicing foreign debt and  military and police campaigns to repress the people.   The  psywar hype about the so-called PTC is generated chiefly by the GRP propagandists  at the top bureaucratic and military levels.   It goes without saying that the  reactionary politicians of  the GRP have all the freedom to  oppose the social programs of the people's revolutionary government and challenge the NPA  to armed combat.  Likewise, the revolutionary forces  have all  the freedom to respond accordingly.  It would be complete nonsense for the GRP to hold the NPA responsible for the voluntary efforts of  GRP politicians to approach  the revolutionary forces for  some mutual understanding on social issues and  on safe campaigning in areas of armed conflict.

how do you intend to bring up issue of militarization in many provinces in the country, specifically in mindoro provinces?

Answer:  The NDFP negotiating panel and NDFP representatives in the Joint Monitoring Committee are ready to  raise trhe issue of militarization and human rights violations, especially in  the provinces of  Mindoro, Quezon, Davao, Cotabato and others.   Human rights  organizations are assisting  the Joint Monitoring Committee.

will you endorse candidates for president, vp, senators, local bets?  what will be your criteria for doing so? 

Answer:  I suppose that you are interviewing me now  as NDFP chief political consultant.  I am not in any position to endorse  the GRP electoral process or  specific electoral bets.  What I can sometimes do is to qualify myself as a political scientist or student of Philippine affairs and evaluate political parties, groups and  candidates in accordance with such criteria  as the track record and current policy pronouncements on the questions  of national independence,  civil liberties,  land reform, national industrialization,  social justice, cultural progress, healthy environment and independent foreign policy.

salamat sa pagsagot.
happy birthday on the 8th.

Answer:  Thank you.

ingat po lagi.

lira dalangin




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