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.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed willingness to create a new panel to talk peace with Communist rebels.
Duterte made the remark nearly a month after he abolished the previous government peace panel and terminated the appointments of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and three others as government peace negotiators.
The President said he might tap three military representatives and two civilians to comprise the new peace panel.
“Pero makigistorya ka, magpadala ko’g laing tao, pag-istorya mo. Di na ko,” he said during a visit to Bukidnon last Saturday.
(If you want to talk to me, I’ll send someone else. You talk to each other. I don’t want to talk anymore.)
“’Di mangita ko’g bag-o. Bag-ong paagi, bag-ong tawong makig-istorya. Basig duha, o usa, o tulo ana militar. Unya ang… Mga lima. Duha ka sibilyan, tulo ka military,” he added.
(I’ll look for another way and new people to talk to. Maybe one, two, or three from the military, and… Maybe around five. Two civilians and three from the military.)
The Chief Executive also explained that he abolished the previous government peace panel since the talks with the communist rebels were not successful.
“Katong peace panel, ako nang gibuwag. Dugay na eh. Three years, wala koy nahimo,” he said.
(I abolished the peace panel too. It’s been three years but I wasn’t even able to achieve anything.)
Duterte permanently terminated the formal negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) in November 2017 following a string of attacks staged by the NPA rebels against government troops.
The President said that rebels could try to talk peace with his successor instead and the government will focus on conducting localized peace engagements. – Robie de Guzman
MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will not submit its version of a draft peace agreement to the government in response to the demand of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement posted on the NDFP website on Saturday (November 24), NDFP political consultant and exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison argued that both the NDF and GPH panels “had already made their respective drafts of the comprehensive agreements on social and economic reforms (CASER) and on political and constitutional reforms (CAPCR) and had made substantial progress in reconciling their drafts of CASER” even before President Duterte suspended the peace talks in June.
“He pretends not to know that there is a negotiating process or he is so drugged by fentanyl that he does not really know it,” Sison alleged adding that Duterte just proved his fear of government’ forces staging coup d’etat against him.
On Thursday (November 22), Duterte said that once the NDFP submits its version of the peace deal, he would ask the military and police officials to review it for his approval.
“Give me the final draft and if I like it, I’ll pass it on to the military and the police. Sasabihin ko sa kanila, ‘Is this all right with you?’ Kasi kung hindi naman tanggapin ng military, police, i-coup d’etat ka naman. Anak ng jueteng,” the President said in a speech in Cavite.
Early this month, NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said he would return to the Philippines with his colleague, Luis Jalandoni, supposedly to have a dialogue with President Duterte.
However, the plan was aborted due to Duterte’s alleged disinterest to face them and because of threat of arrest.
In his statement, Sison said: ‘Duterte is simply joking, stupid or crazy’ for raising such demand. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)
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