Philippines to seek delisting of leftist rebel group from US terror list

Manila, Jan 25 (IANS) The Philippine government will ask the US to remove from its list of terrorist organisations the leftist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), as well as its founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Philippine government chief negotiator with the leftist rebels Silvestre Bello III was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that the delisting of the CPP-NPA from the US list of international terrorist organisations would put into fruition the commitment of Sison to President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the Philippines as part of the ongoing peace negotiations.

Duterte and Sison earlier agreed to meet in any neutral Asian country once the latter is removed from the list of international terrorists.

Sison, who has been self-exiled in the Netherlands, and the CPP-NPA, have been included in the individuals and entities designated as terrorists by the US State Department since 2002.

The Philippine government under late President Corazon Aquino also cancelled Sison’s passport in 1987. If he leaves Europe, he could be arrested by the US authorities.

Bello said Sison’s arrest could affect the peace talks.

With Donald Trump as the new US president, he said it could be possible that Sison be stricken from the list of personalities considered by the American government as terrorists.

He also said that there is basis for the US to remove the CPP, the umbrella organisation, and the NPA, its armed wing, from the terror list since its political umbrella, the National Democratic Front, and Sison are now involved in the peace negotiations with the Philippine government, with the hope to end the 48-year guerrilla war in the country.

The European Union has long ago stricken Sison from the terror list, he noted.

–IANS

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