Formal peace talks with Reds likely to resume in January – Bello
Marje Pelayo • December 13, 2019 • 1039
MANILA, Philippines — The government intends to resume the formal peace talks with the communist group come January next year.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III who serves as the government’s chief negotiator, the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) would probably resume on the second or third week of January.
NDFP is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founded by activist Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison who is now in exile in the Netherlands.
Over the weekend, Bello was able to talk to Sison who responded favorably to President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for both parties to return to the negotiating table.
In line with this, Bello said the CPP may declare a truce on December 20 or 21.
Though Sison agreed to the resumption of the peace talks, he wants it done on a neutral venue.
In a recent interview, Sison said he could meet President Duterte in person but he wanted to have legal and political guarantees that he’d still be protected under the provisions of the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Though the meet-up is a remote possibility, Sison said, it may not happen in the Philippines but “maybe in a nearby country.”
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government, through the Anti-terrorism Council (ATC), has declared the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a terrorist organization.
In a resolution dated June 23, 2021, the ATC said it found probable cause to designate the NDFP — also known as National Democratic Front (NDF) — “as a terrorist group of persons, organization, or association for having committed, or attempting to commit or conspire in the commission of the acts defined and penalized under Sections, 7, 10, and 12 the Anti-terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).”
According to the resolution, the ATC referred to the NDFP as an “integral and inseparable part” of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) which was formally tagged as a terrorist group in December last year.
The NDFP’s designation follows the terrorist designation of CPP founder, Jose Maria Sison and his wife Juliet, by the ATC.
Moreover, the resolution said, Sison further highlighted NDF’s connection with the CPP/NPA when he identified the CPP/NPA as allied organizations of the NDFP in his message for the NDF’s 48th anniversary in April 2021.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday (July 14) lifted the suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Israel.
DOLE issued a memorandum, stating that Filipino workers can be deployed to Israel effective immediately after an almost two-month ban.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the decision was based on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) due to the low-level incidents between the Israel Defense Force and Palestinian militant groups. This was after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in May.
On May 20, 2021, DOLE suspended the deployment of Filipino workers due to the tension between the Israel Defense Force and Palestine. AAC
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