PH Government talks with communists may resume soon – Bello

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019   •   219

Government’s chief negotiator Secretary Silvestre Bello III (left) and National Democratic Front founding chair Jose Maria Sison (right)

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday expressed optimism that the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), will resume soon.

Bello said CPP founder Joma Sison and NDF senior adviser Luis Jalandoni agreed to discuss the possibility of returning to the negotiating table when he personally met them in the Netherlands a few days ago.

Bello, who served as the government’s chief peace negotiator, returned to Manila on Monday.

“I cannot give you any detail on the result of our talks. ang importante nag-usap kami. They are willing to resume the talks,” he said.

Bello flew to the Netherlands last December 5 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to talk to Sison on the possibility of resuming peace negotiations.

Ties between Duterte and Sison went sour last year after the chief executive accused the rebel group of launching attacks against government forces even while the negotiations are ongoing.

In March 2019, Duterte formally terminated the peace process with the CPP-National Democratic Front of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

Bello said the communist leaders are also open to the president’s conditions to reopen negotiations but details about where, when and how the process will be conducted are yet to be determined.

The labor chief also emphasized that the chief executive did not give up on talking peace with the reds.  

Bello is expected to meet with Duterte later on Wednesday to report about his meeting with Sison. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

CPP-NDF receives copy of PH gov’t ceasefire order

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said it has finally received copies of the documents stating the government’s orders for suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) and the suspension of offensive police operations (SOPO).

Fidel Agcaoili, NDF peace panel chairman, confirmed they received the documents from Labor Secretary and government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III on December 26.

“We hope that from here on the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires declared by the two Parties shall proceed effectively,” Agcaoili said in a statement.

CPP founder and NDP chief political consultant Jose Maria “Joma” Sison earlier asked for the copies of the government’s written order for the state security troops to stand down in observance of the holiday ceasefire.

Both the government and the communist group declared a truce on Sunday for the holiday season.

President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered the reconstitution of the government’s negotiating panel for the possible resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels.

The holiday ceasefire took effect midnight of December 23 and will end on January 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace: Duterte dares Joma Sison to a one-on-one talk in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019

Communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison (L) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is challenging communist leader Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison to return to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with him.

The President’s agenda is about the peace process away from the usual Philippine Government-National Democratic Front’s way of doing things, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“The President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with the President,” Panelo said.

“He is asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant, just come to the Philippines and talk with him,” he added.

Sison, who is on self-exile, is recognized as a political refugee in Utrecht, the Netherlands and enjoys the protection of the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Panelo said the Chief Executive wants the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to explain the recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA), the group’s armed unit, against government forces in Camarines Sur and Iloilo on the eve of the ceasefire.

“We condemn of course the violations of the ceasefire agreements,” Panelo said.

“We are giving them the chance to explain why it has committed such violations. He (Duterte) will wait for the explanation coming from them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Panelo said President Duterte is considering the request of her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte to maintain localized peace talks and exclude the city from the negotiations with the Reds. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

PNP to remain ready for any NPA attacks despite ongoing ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to remind its force not to be complacent but to remain on guard for any attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) despite the ongoing unilateral ceasefire which started on Dec. 23 and will end on January 7.

This was prompted by the three attacks that the rebel group had launched against the police and the military in Camarines Norte, Iloilo and Quezon provinces.

PNP Directorate for Operations PMGen. Emmanuel Licup advised his men to always be ready to defend themselves.

“Pwede kang lumaban pero you don’t do it on an offensive manner; kung ambush pwede kang lumaban,” Licup said.

Meanwhile, the police force on Thursday (Dec. 26) joined the indignation rally staged by different entities in line with the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP).

“Itong mga riders organized ourselves na ipakita naman na we are supporting the effort of the civilian sector who want to support the national task force to Elcac (End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” Licup said.

Around 200 HPG riders from the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, and CALABARZON joined the indignation rally that went on a convoy through Liwasang Bonifacio, Monumento Circle, UP Diliman, Baclaran and the EDSA Shrine.

In December 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order 70 that mandates a whole nation approach to end the 50-year activities of the communist group. — (from  the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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