By ARLENE BURGOS
Kyodo News – Manila Bureau
Arlene Burgos: What are the prospects of the NDF resuming peace talks with the government? Will the NDF ever agree to the proposal for a single comprehensive agreement?
JMS Reply: The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is blocking the resumption of the formal peace talks between the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels. The obstacles put up by the GRP include the following: the extreme puppetry of the Arroyo regime to the US, the all-out war policy against the revolutionary movement, the indecent proposal to scrap all previous joint agreements and the threats to label the NDFP as "terrorist" in a futile attempt to make it capitulate.
The formal peace talks will not resume until the GRP remove the aforesaid obstacles and stop trying to terrorize the NDFP. What you refer to as the proposal for a single comprehensive agreement is the GRP proposal for the scrapping of The Hague Joint Declaration and for the capitulation of the NDFP. The NDFP can never agree to such a proposal. This has only served to paralyze the peace negotiations.
A government negotiator said that all they're really proposing is for a new type of peace negotiations where both sides would have to commit to see the entire negotiation to its conclusion, veering away from the old practice where both sides wait and see for the conclusion of a phase, for instance the issue on the respect for human right and international humanitarian laws, before moving on to the next item. Will the NDF be agreeable to this?
JMS Reply: What the GRP actually demands is the scrapping of the ten agreements that have been the fruit of hard negotiating since 1992. This demand is maliciou. It is done in bad faith. Why should the NDFP bend to such a demand when precisely this lays bare the GRP's refusal to comply with the already accomplished agreements. The GRP is floundering in crisis and is so beggarly to imperialist powers. And yet towards the people it is so arrogant, pretending to be strong.
What is your status now given the United States' terrorist label against your person?
JMS Reply: As you can see, I am still in The Netherlands. I remain a recognized political refugee under the protection of the Refugee Convention and the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. I am filing cases of human rights violations against the Dutch government and the European Council in two separate cases. There is no criminal charge against me anywhere in the world and yet the US directs other governments to label me as a terrorist and apply penal sanctions against me without any respect for my right to due process.
What is your assessment of the administration of Gloria Arroyo now that it is turning two years old? Do you see the bases of the United States coming back to the Philippines with the resurgence of close US-RP military relations under Arroyo?
JMS Reply: The Arroyo regime is servile to the US. It is corrupt and stinking to high heavens. It aggravates the socio-economic crisis. It is brutal to the toiling masses. It believes that it can suppress the patriotic and progressive mass movement with the force of arms supplied by the US.
The US is using the US-RP Military Assistance Agreement, the Mutual Defense Pact, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement to dominate the Philippines militarily and to engage in a serial kind of military basing under the guide of anti-terrorist operations, training exercises, civic action, infrastructure building and so on. The return of the US military bases and the escalation of US military intervention are treasonously promoted by Arroyo regime.
Given Arroyo's political and economic policies, doesn't the Philippine protest movement feel that it has made a mistake helping install her into the presidency?
JMS Reply: The mass protest movement cannot be blamed for overthrowing the rotten Estrada regime and for helping install the Arroyo regime that has subsequently unfolded as one more rotten regime in Philippine history. The masses and their patriotic and progressive leaders should be aware that there will be one rotten regime after another for so long as the ruling system of big compradors and landlords is not overthrown. But in overthrowing one ruling clique after another, the patriotic and progressive mass movement can accumulate strength and experience until it can overthrow the entire ruling system.
What is your opinion on the impending American assault on Iraq?
JMS Reply: The US is once more demonstrating to the world that it is the No. 1 terrorist power by threatening to wage a war of aggression against Iraq despite the Iraqi government's openness to inspection. The US covets the oil resources and wants to use its direct control of Iraq to further control the Middle East. It also wants to step up military production and stimulate a war economy.
What is your opinion on the war against terrorism ?
JMS Reply: The so-called US war against terrorism is in fact the US war of terrorism against countries assertive of national independence and against the people fighting for national liberation, democracy and socialism. The US has used terrorist attacks of 9/11 as its license to carry out superterrorism anywhere in the world.
When I speak of US superterrorism, I refer to such US acts as the killing of 1.4 million Filipinos from 1899 to 1914, the atom bombing of the civilian population in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the massacre of millions of Koreans and Indochinese in two major wars and the instigation of puppet regimes of open terror like those of Suharto and Marcos in our Asian region. I can mention more US acts of terror. But the few that I have mentioned are illustrative enough.