‘There is nothing dishonorable in accepting defeat”
BY SILVER C. BALANZA
For shooting down President Rodrigo Duterte’s overtures to reopen peace talks with communist rebels, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is reducing himself into a mere “footnote” in the “dustbin of history,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
“To miss this golden opportunity will only reduce him to a historical footnote and throw him into the dustbin of history. That will be tragic,” said Panelo on Sunday, February 10.
In a report in the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Panelo said it is now time for Sison to extend his hands for peace and rejoin society. Sison has been living in exile in The Netherlands.
Panelo dished out his indictment on the future of the leader of the country’s 50-year old communist insurgency as Sison slammed the offer of Duterte to reopen peace talks with the communists.
Sison described the offer as an “insult to the revolutionary movement.”
Last year, Duterte cancelled the talks in the midst of ongoing peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the communist movement in the country, as its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) continued its attacks against government forces and civilians.
“Instead of welcoming the President’s softening of his hard line stance on no peace talks with the local communists unless it puts a stop to their collection of revolutionary taxes which is a euphemism for extortion, he considers it as an insult to them,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Sison must step down from his ivory tower and extend his hands for peace, for his own sake, for his followers, for the Filipino people, for his country he loves so well,” he added.
Panelo said Sison should also contribute his intellect and expertise in peaceful dialogues for the betterment and progress of all Filipinos.
“It is time to rejoin society. There is nothing dishonorable in accepting defeat. There is another path for change other than armed struggle. Filipinos cannot continue killing Filipinos,” Panelo said.
He noted that it would be “tragic” and “such a waste” for Sison to reject the President’s willingness to resume peace negotiations for disagreeing with the precondition to stop the collection of revolutionary taxes.
“To miss this golden opportunity will only reduce him to a historical footnote and thrown him into the dustbin of history. That will be tragic and such a waste,” he added.
Panelo mocked Sison’s reason for refusing to stop the collection of revolutionary taxes saying he must be “running berserk with his imagination.”
“He (Sison) claims that they cannot stop the extortion activities because its stoppage will deprive the ‘people’s government of financial resources for administration and social programs.’ Oh… they have a government?” Panelo said.
“He has to wake up from his daydreaming lest he gets a nightmare that will cut short his bourgeoisie lifestyle in The Netherlands,” he added.
Panelo, meanwhile, described Sison and a handful of his followers as “victims of their own revolution” for still hoping to overthrow the existing political order but failing to do so for over 50 years.
In 2017, Duterte terminated peace talks with communist rebels following continued attacks against government troops.
The United States and European Union have declared the CPP-NPA as a terror group. (With PNA report)