On taxation and peace negotiations

Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

By Lira Dalangin Fernandez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Happy holidays, Professor Joma! Kumusta po kayo?

Hi Lira! Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year! I am fine.

1. Several officials here say that the issue of revolutionary tax being imposed on firms, such as mining companies, should be among the agenda in the talks. what's your take on this?

Answer: There is yet no peace agreement. The two conflicting sides of the civil war in the Philippines are still negotiating. Everyone must recognize the fact that there are two governments in the Philippines.

One is the reactionary government of the big compradors and landlords seated in Manila and headed by Noynoy Aquino. The other is the revolutionary government of workers and peasants based in the countryside and led by the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The revolutionary government has always made it clear that it collects taxes in order to cover the costs of administration, defense, land reform, promotion of production and social programs, including public education, health, cultural and other activities.

The GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) civilian and military officials are wrong and are engaged in disinformation when they say that the revolutionary forces are collecting taxes from foreign mining companies. My understanding of the policy of the revolutionary government is banning, disabling and dismantling such mining companies because they damage the economy and environment and take away land from land reform. Please read the latest policy statements of the CPP in www.philippinerevolution.net These are the 42nd anniversary statement of the CPP on December 26 and the reiteration of policy regarding mining on December 29.

May I add that the foreign mining companies take away nonrenewable mineral resources and damage permanently the people's aspiration for national industrialization. The CPP and other major patriotic organizations as well as the main religious organizations are opposed to the treasonous plunder of mineral resources by 100 per cent foreign-owned mining companies.

2. While not a precondition, do you agree that this should stop as confidence-building measure for the talks?

Answer: It is the duty and prerogative of the people's revolutionary government to collect taxes for the purposes beneficial to the people. In contrast, the reactionary government collects taxes and engages in excessive foreign and domestic borrowing to serve the purposes of the foreign monopolies, the big compradors, landlords and the corrupt officials.

My understanding of the policy pronouncements of the CPP as leading party in the people's revolutionary government is that it will not collect taxes from the foreign mining companies but will ban, disable and dismantle such companies. That should raise the confidence of the people in their revolutionary government and expose the treasonous character of the reactionary govenment.

3. What are the other possible agenda in both the january and february meetings?

Answer: The preliminary meeting in Oslo in January 14 to 18 will resolve certain issues and thus pave the way for the resumption of formal talks in February 15 to 21. The most important issues in the preliminary meeting pertain to compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and certain confidence-building and goodwill measures.

The agenda in the resumption of formal talks will include exchange of credentials between the two panels, the reaffirmation of the existing agreements, compliance with JASIG, implmentation of CARHRIHL, accelerated negotiations on social and economic reforms by the Reciprocal Working Committees, the concept of working group on political and constitutional reforms and confidence-building and goodwill measures.