Duterte was Sison’s student/Driving while texting ban on

>> Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alfred P. Dizon

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet–The road to finally end the “war” between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army may not be that easy even with the pronouncement of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte he is allowing CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison to come home so extensive talks could be done to stop the conflict which spans more than 40 years – considered the longest-running insurgency worldwide.
Sison a former social science and English professor, was Duterte’s professor, reason why they may have affinity to each other.
This time, Sison’s homecoming remains a “ticklish” issue as he may be arrested while on the way home because he has been labeled a terrorist by the United States, a negotiator of the National Democratic Front, according to NDF negotiator and spokesman Fidel Agcaoili.
         He said Sison’s arrest can spoil peace talks between the incoming Duterte administration and the communists.
“You know, Joma’s (Sison’s nickname) coming home is a very ticklish issue. The US has again come up with a statement putting the CPP and the NPA (New People’s Army) in the terrorist list,” Agcaoili said. “The US can become a spoiler through its control of the Interpol.”
Agcaoili said there is no direct flight from the Netherlands to the Philippines so Sison will have a stopover in Taiwan if he flies via Royal Dutch Airlines.“They might present a warrant against him in Taipei and everything’s kaput… that is an issue that has to be discussed seriously.”    
He said there has to be some guarantee from the Dutch and Norwegian governments as well as from Washington “to respect the sovereignty of the Filipino people in their desire to pursue just and lasting peace and allow professor Sison to come home without interference.”Agcaoili said he is not sure whether the US would agree to such request because “it has always been a bullying agent.”
Sison founded the CPP on Dec. 26, 1968. He was jailed during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos but was freed by then president Corazon Aquino in 1986.
 Sison, who has been on self-exile in the Netherlands since 1987, has said he is open to returning to the Philippines after Duterte assumes office.
 “There is a far greater chance than ever before for producing the comprehensive agreements at a faster rate to the mutual satisfaction of both parties and, most importantly, to the satisfaction of the people who need and demand the reforms,” he said.Duterte has promised to provide Sison a safe conduct pass once he assumes the presidency.
Representatives of the incoming Duterte administration and NDF will meet in Oslo, Norway to tackle the agenda for the resumption of peace negotiations next month.
The Duterte administration would be represented by incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza, labor secretary-designate Silvestre Bello III and former Pangasinan congressman Hernani Braganza.
The NDF, meanwhile, will be represented by Sison, Agcaoili, chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Julie de Lima-Sison, Connie Ledesma and two lawyers.Formal negotiations between the Philippine government and the NDF collapsed in 2013 after negotiators failed to reach an agreement on jailed rebel leaders.
NDF said the rebels should be freed because the government is a signatory to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), which prohibits the arrest and detention of peace consultants.
Government negotiators, however, rejected the demand, saying the identities of rebels who are supposedly performing duties for the NDF peace panel cannot be validated.
        In the Cordillera, there is an NDF consultant who is still languishing in jail (See page 1 for details).
The use of mobile communication devices like cell phones while driving will soon become illegal.
The House of Representatives is now preparing a clean printed copy of Bill 4531, or the proposed Anti-Distracted Driving Act, for signature into law by President Aquino.
An email said the Senate had approved the measure with amendments, which the members of the House adopted on Monday before Congress adjourned its third and last regular session.
The adoption obviated the need for a conference committee that would have reconciled the two chambers’ versions of the proposed law and shortened the process for its final approval.
As amended by the Senate, the bill defines distracted driving as the use of mobile devices as a means of communication either through texts or calls, and the use of electronic gadgets for playing games, Internet browsing and watching movies while driving a motor vehicle.
Violators face fines ranging from P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, P15,000 for the third offense and P20,000 and revocation of driver’s license for the fourth violation.
The bill, however, exempts drivers using the hands-free function and vehicles not in motion, except those that are temporarily halted by the red light and by traffic enforcers.
Aside from four-wheeled vehicles, covered by the measure are agricultural machineries, construction vehicles and other forms of transportation such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, habal-habal, kuliglig and human and animal-powered carriages.
A nationwide public information campaign would be conducted for a period of six months before lawmen start to enforce the prohibition against the use of mobile communication devices while driving.
The Department of Transportation and Communications, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Information Agency, Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police are mandated to conduct the information campaign.
Authors of the bill include Reps. Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes, Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur, Angelina Tan of Quezon, Romeo Acop, Xavier Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga, Lito Atienza of party-list group BUHAY and Emmeline Aglipay-Villar of DIWA.
There is no law at present prohibiting the use of mobile gadgets while driving. However, some local government units have passed ordinances containing the prohibition.


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