Joma’s widow: No Reds surrender

Joma’s widow: No Reds surrender

THE NATIONAL Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel’s interim chair, Juliet de Lima, widow of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, has flatly denied Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr.’s claim that the NDFP is ready to surrender.

In a statement to media on Monday, Ms. De Lima called Mr. Teodoro’s statement “simply untrue.”

“Teodoro sings out of tune compared to his GRP (Philippine government negotiating panel) colleagues and the joint statement signed last November 23,” she said, noting that “it was the GRP that who first approached the NDFP, not the other way around.”

Urging the GRP to refocus on substantive agenda items, Ms. De Lima emphasized that the government must tackle the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) to address the root causes of the civil war.

“Before discussing the cessation of hostilities, go back to the negotiating table and address the remaining agenda items under The Hague Joint Declaration,” she said. “The NDFP’s goal in peace negotiations is not capitulation but creating a space for discussing just and lasting peace.” — Artemio A. Dumlao