Joma hit for nixing Duterte peace overture

February 10, 2019

“IT is time to rejoin society… and step down from his ivory tower.”

Malacañang said this after exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison described as an “insult” President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to revive the stalled peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

“Instead of welcoming the President’s softening of his hardline 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,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Panelo also urged Sison to “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.”

Further, the Palace official questioned Sison’s defense of the rebels’ revolutionary taxation.

“He should not call the tax system of the people’s democratic government extortion and should not precondition the negotiations with any demand for said government to commit suicide by giving up a vital governmental function,” Sison had said.

“He 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.

Panelo then urged Sison to “join the ranks of heroic men and women who courageously fought to liberate their country from oppression and enslavement.”

The Palace official also called on Sison to “contribute his intellect and expertise in peaceful dialogues and productive undertakings, for the betterment and progress of the people that moved and inspired him to relentlessly tread the road of revolutionary struggle.”

“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 and such a waste,” Panelo said.