Can Joma Sison really pursue peace?

Photo: NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison with actress Mara Lopez (Photo credit:josemariasison.org)

Amid the recent Holy Thursday attack by elements of the New People's Army (NPA) on the 9th Infantry Battalion in Capalonga, Camarines Norte, doubts have been raised on whether the National Democratic front is able to rein in its forces, having called for a resumption of peace talks with the government.  This attack comes as its Chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said today that they remain committed to the successful conduct of the peace negotiations.

In a statement posted on the NDFP website, the Sison reiterated that since October 4, 2017, the NDFP has "positively responded to the expressed desire of GRP to draft a ceasefire agreement more effective and more sustained than the previous unilateral ceasefires."

He said that the GRP and NDFP back channel teams have already drafted an agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefire to be monitored by a joint ceasefire committee of the GRP and NDFP at the national level.

According to him, this agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefire is in the same package of draft agreements, including the draft amnesty to release all NDFP-listed political prisoners in compliance with CARHRIHL and the drafts of such major parts of CASER as Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED).

He further added that "the enabling environment for the successful conduct of the peace negotiations would ensue from the finalization and signing of the draft agreements in the aforesaid package . When the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels meet again, it should be easy for them to finalize the draft agreements and sign them, "Sison said. 

The Holy Thursday attack shows that this group is barely able to keep its forces in line, much less inspire cofidence in any peace process it pushes. A credibility gap has thus ensued. Is the President right to previously reject any of their peace overtures? Does this group have the credibility to pursue peace? Given a popular president and an equally popular military,there are questions we should ask them.

Rafael Liwanag is the nom de plume of a Manila-based former "lefty"- ed. Photo: josemariasison.org