OSLO, Norway — Hours before the second round of peace talks with the government, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will have a new chief negotiator for the second round of peace talks here starting Thursday, October 6.
Former NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni will be replaced by Fidel Agcaoili who will sit in as the new chairperson of the NDF Negotiating Panel.
The NDF said it has granted the “long-standing request” of Jalandoni to resign as the chairperson.
“The national leadership of the NDFP is grateful for the valuable service that Comrade Jalandoni has given to the peace negotiation,” the NDF said in a statement read by Dan Borjal, NDF panel spokesman past 10:00 pm (Oslo time).
“In his place, the national leadership of the NDFP has appointed Fidel V. Agcaoili as the new Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel. Comrade Agcaoili has been serving as the Vice-chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in the past years,” it said.
Jalandoni, 81, served as chair of the NDF negotiating panel since 1992.
He said he has been asking to resign since he was 70 years old.
“Now I’m 81, I think it is time for younger ones to take over the function of chairperson of the NDFP negotiating panel,” he said.
Jalandoni will remain as senior adviser of the NDFP negotiating panel.
“I think this is a very opportune time because there are high expectations, big potentials and possibilities that the Filipino people look forward to. So I think it’s a good time that I step aside and have Fidel serve as the chairperson,” he said.
Agcaoili, 72, said there are good opportunities opened to the peace negotiations because of the political will shown by President Rodrigo Duterte who vowed commitment to pursue talks with the Communist movement.
“That will be the main challenges, to get the government accept the reforms needed for the economy such as land reform and national industrialization,” he said.
Agcaoili admitted that the role of Jalandoni is difficult.
“Louie’s role is difficult but I’ll do my best to take over,” he said.
Jalandoni also clarified that his health condition is well despite taking medications.
The NDF also named Benito Tiamzon as member of the panel. (davaotoday.com)