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Fidel Agcaoili, chief negotiator of Philippine communist guerrilla dies

Manila, Jul 24 (efe-epa).- The chief negotiator of the communist guerrilla in the Philippines, Fidel Agcaoili, died on Thursday at the age of 75 in Utrecht (Netherlands), where he had been living in exile for three decades.

Agcaoili led the negotiating team of the Philippine National Democratic Front (NDFP), a left-wing party bloc that negotiated with successive governments for peace on behalf of the New People’s Army (NEP), Asia’s oldest communist insurgency and arm armed of the outlawed Communist Party.

“The cause of his death was a ruptured pulmonary artery that caused massive internal bleeding. It is not related to COVID-19,” the NDFP said in a statement today.

Agcaoili’s remains will be transferred to the Philippines at the wish of his family.

Agcaoili assumed the presidency of the NDFP peace panel in 2016, when negotiations with the government of President Rodrigo Duterte resumed, a process that suffered numerous ups and downs until it was definitively frozen in March 2019.

Duterte declared the NEP a terrorist group in December 2017, which made dialogue difficult and opened the way for a greater military confrontation.

The communist leader was the longest-serving political prisoner during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship (1965-1986), who declared martial law between 1972 and 1981 to fight the NEP, created in March 1969 as the communist military wing.

Agcaoili was the “number two” of the Communist Party, a formation that he co-founded in December 1968 together with José María Sison, who also lives self-exiled in Utrecht, but continues to lead the party.

After his time in prison, Agcaoili founded the Selda organization, which represented the political prisoners of the dictatorship; and he was secretary general of Bayan, a left-wing party still active that was especially relevant during the administration of Corazón Aquino (1986-1992), the first democratic government after the Marcos dictatorship. EFE-EPA


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