PH to ask U.S. to remove Sison from terror list

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Through the peace negotiations in Rome, the Philippine government agreed to push for the delisting of CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison from the U.S. terror list.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government is making moves to ask the United States to remove Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson Jose Maria "Joma" Sison from the list of international terrorists.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process in a statement said Sison's delisting was pushed through the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Italy.

Labor Secretary and chief negotiator Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this would allow Sison to fulfill his commitment to Duterte to return to the country without being arrested and participate in the ongoing peace negotiations.

Bello said the U.S. should remove both the CPP and its armed wing, New People's Army, from the terrorist list, as its political umbrella, the NDFP, is already involved in peace negotiations.

The inclusion of the CPP-NPA on the list allows the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to arrest Sison once he steps outside the European Union territory, where he has been seeking asylum for decades.

President Duterte and Sison had earlier agreed to meet in a neutral country in Asia once the communist leader gets delisted.

Sison had been stricken off the terrorist list of the EU since August last year.

Once the U.S. removes Sison from the list, he can then join panels in succeeding talks outside Europe.

"Baka ang talks sa Philippines na because we are trying to get support from the people," Bello said.

[Translation: The next talks may already be held in the Philippines because we are trying to get support from the people.]

He added with new U.S. President Donald Trump, Sison's removal from the list of terrorists may be more possible.

Related: CPP-NDF founder may return to PH in July or August