Permanent truce is possible with CASER approval, Joma says

Report and video by Urbano Guevarra

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison raised the possibility of a “permanent truce” with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, even as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines expressed keenness to cooperate with the Duterte administration on social and economic reforms.

Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, clarified, however, that the truce does not mean the rebels will lay down their arms immediately.

“The end of the conflict certainly is possible. But to completely destroy and abolish the revolutionary army? No, time must be given. There is such a thing as a permanent truce, like South and North Korea,” Sison said in an exclusive interview with Kodao in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The on-and-off peace talks between the government and the rebels are being revived as the two sides expressed last week that recent back channel talks proved productive.

Sison stressed that there are “common and separate responsibilities” between the government and the NDFP in implementing proposed agreements under the so-called Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, or CASER, a key agenda in the talks.

For example, Sison said, “Land reform – how can you carry it out quickly? It is with the agreement (of the government). Sila ang may records ng public lands and contested lands. You have to consult them.”

Sison said some observers may misconstrue that under a peace agreement, the NDFP might be subsumed under the current Philippine government. Not so, said Sison. “No. The important thing there is to first have cooperation.”

Sison also said that if the talks succeed, the Philippines would have a new constitution. “The constitutions of the two parties will be the working drafts…Considering the substantial agreements on economic and social reforms, it should be easy to have a common and new constitution,” he said. #