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Sunday, December 3, 2023

PHL, The Netherlands ties ‘very good’ after Joma’s passing–Dutch minister

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The Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister said relations between The Netherlands and the Philippines are “very good” after the demise of Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison in December 2022.

Minister Hanke Bruins Slot was here in the Philippines, the first visit of a Dutch foreign minister, in more than 30 years.

“The Netherlands takes the fight against terrorism very seriously. And we did take action,” Bruins Slot told reporters in Manila during a news conference.

She cited that in 2005, the European Union declared the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines as terrorist groups following the intervention of The Netherlands. 

“We also started court sessions and the Dutch court ruled that Mr. Sison could not be deported, unfortunately. The Dutch state must honor the rulings of the court. Perhaps you have heard that Mr. Sison passed away last December,” she added.

Manila and The Hague have enjoyed “long-standing” 72 years of diplomatic relations in almost all sectors. The only irritant then, diplomatic officials said, was the presence of Sison in Utrecht.

Sison passed away in Utrecht last December 2022 due to heart failure. His remains were not repatriated to the Philippines. 

When asked if the bilateral relations have improved since the demise of Sison, the Dutch minister said, “Our relations are very good and we still fight against terrorism. We’ve still taken measures like 30 years ago and we’ll still take measures when we encounter terrorism in our country.” 

The National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the CPP-NPA, still has an office in Utrecht. Its chairman, Luis Jalandoni, is a naturalized Dutch citizen.

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