By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: August 16, 2008

MANILA — Communist Party leader Jose Ma. Sison is now accusing United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney of feigning ignorance of a deal expanding the homeland of the Bangsamoro people in the southern Philippines.

Sison said that Kenney was misleading the public when she claimed that she had not read the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney is blatantly lying by claiming that she was merely invited to witness the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain…,” he said in a statement e-mailed from the Netherlands, where he lives in exile.

“Contrary to her claim, the ambassador has frequently traveled to Mindanao to oversee US interests there, including investments, military forces, and “pseudo-development projects,” Sison said.

She has closely worked with the US Institute of Peace (USIP) to “steer the course for GRP-MILF peace negotiations for the sake of US interests,” he added.

“The Filipino people know that the US covets the oil and other natural resources of Mindanao and wants to establish US military bases there to protect US imperial interests,” he said.

Kenney said she had neither seen a copy of the MOA, nor read its contents. She denied charges that the US’ involvement in the peace process was motivated by its interest in the potential reserves of oil in the area.

“I’ve made very clear, I think, why we are interested in peace in Mindanao. It’s good for security, it’s good for economic activity,” she said.

Sison, citing USIP’s February special report on Mindanao peace, said that the US State Department engaged USIP in 2003 to facilitate the peace agreement, and said this was proof of the US government’s role in the peace process.

“The USIP is funded by the US Congress and is an instrument of US foreign policy. But it misrepresents itself as an independent and nonpartisan institution,” he said, pointing that its ex-officio members include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Sison, the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front, claimed that the US took part in the peace process to advance its interests.

“The US is not interested in a just and lasting peace in either Bangsamoro land or in the entire Philippines. It is interested solely or mainly in advancing US interests amidst conditions of armed conflict,” he said.

“It merely pretends to facilitate the GRP-MILF peace negotiations when its sees big advantages in doing so,” he added.

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