Joma Sison concedes to UN’s call for a global ceasefire

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020   •   386

Jose Maria Sison

MANILA, Philippines – Communist leader Jose Maria Sison has taken a cue from the United Nations (UN) to agree on a ceasefire with the government at this time of health crisis due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“As Chief Political Consultant, I am advising the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to recommend to its principal, the NDFP National Council, the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Communist Party of the Philippines to the New People’s Army in order to respond to the call of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sison said in a statement.

The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines stressed, however, that their decision doesn’t mean they are putting their guards down against potential tactical offensives by government forces.

Prior to the UN’s call for a global ceasefire, President Rodrigo Duterte asked the communist group to agree with a ceasefire to give way for the national government to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Malacañang, meanwhile, welcomes the rebel group’s intention to likewise declare a unilateral ceasefire as it is much necessary at this trying times.

“It is about time they join the collective efforts of the nation to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

UN calls for global ceasefire as coronavirus rages on

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres holding news conference on COVID-19. United Nations (March 23, 2020)

REUTERS – Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday (March 23) called for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” Guterres told a virtual news conference.

So far more than 337,500 people have been infected and over 14,600 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

The spread of the the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness has drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.

“The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world,” Guterres said.

“The most vulnerable – women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced – pay the highest price,” he said. “They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.”

The United Nations has been trying to mediate an end to conflicts in countries including Syria, Yemen and Libya, while also providing humanitarian assistance to millions of civilians.

Guterres warned that in war-torn countries health systems have collapsed and the small number of health professionals left were often targeted in the fighting.

“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world,” he said. “It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.” (Production: Dan Fastenberg)

U.N. asks world leaders to fight virus-spawned discrimination

UNTV News   •   February 27, 2020

Michelle Bachelet

United Nations human rights guardian Michelle Bachelet urged the global community on Thursday (February 27) to show solidarity with people of ethnic Asian origin subject to discrimination amid an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that started in China.

“The coronavirus epidemic has set off a disturbing wave of prejudice against people of Chinese and East Asian ethnicity, and I call on member states to do their utmost to combat this and other forms of discrimination,” she said at a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Governments are ramping up measures to battle a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of infections outside China for the first time surpassed those appearing inside the country.

“I extend my deepest respect to the medical teams around the world who are tackling the coronavirus Covid-19, which constitutes a serious threat to the rights to life and to health of people everywhere,” Bachelet said. 

“To effectively combat the virus all public health measures should be carried out without discrimination of any kind with an emphasis on transparency and information to empower people to participate in protecting health,” she added. (Reuters)

(Production: Lucien Libert)

Palace: Duterte dares Joma Sison to a one-on-one talk in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019

Communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison (L) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is challenging communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison to return to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with him.

The President’s agenda is about the peace process away from the usual Philippine Government-National Democratic Front’s way of doing things, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“The President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with the President,” Panelo said.

“He is asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant, just come to the Philippines and talk with him,” he added.

Sison, who is on self-exile, is recognized as a political refugee in Utrecht, the Netherlands and enjoys the protection of the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Panelo said the Chief Executive wants the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to explain the recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA), the group’s armed unit, against government forces in Camarines Sur and Iloilo on the eve of the ceasefire.

“We condemn of course the violations of the ceasefire agreements,” Panelo said.

“We are giving them the chance to explain why it has committed such violations. He (Duterte) will wait for the explanation coming from them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Panelo said President Duterte is considering the request of her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte to maintain localized peace talks and exclude the city from the negotiations with the Reds. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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