DAVAO CITY — The formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will resume in the third week of July in Oslo, Norway, officials announced.
Incoming presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza posted on his Facebook page a copy of the Joint Statement signed between the representatives of the incoming government panel and the NDFP panel during the exploratory talks held on June 14-15 in Oslo. The preliminary talks was facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government.
The agenda of the resumption of the formal talks will include: 1) affirmation of previously signed agreements; 2) accelerated process for negotiations including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces; 3) reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list; 4) amnesty proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress; and 5) mode of interim ceasefire.
The statement also said that the GPH panel will recommend to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte the immediate release of NDF consultants and other JASIG protected persons to allow them to participate in the peace negotiations and the immediate release of political prisoners on humanitarian grounds.
The statement was signed by Dureza, incoming GPH Panel Chairperson Silvestre Bello III, incoming member Hernani Braganza, NDF Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni, member Fidel Agcaoili, and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison.
Royal Norwegian Government Ambassador Elisabeth Slattum, who is the special envoy to the Philippine peace process, also signed as witness.
On his Facebook page on Wednesday, June 15, Dureza said that there was evident “shared optimism” on both sides.
“There is evident shared optimism on both sides due to the declaration of President-Elect Rody Duterte to seek an early sustainable peace for the nation,” Dureza said.
Dureza also posted a group selfie shot of him with Jalandoni and Sison.
The first day of the informal talks started at 5:00 pm and ended at 11:00 pm at the Leysebu Hotel.
Incoming Anakpawis partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao who joined the talks as an independent observer said both parties conveyed their gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for hosting the informal talks.
“The NDFP officially turned over to the GPH panel the three drafted documents for their comments which both panels will discuss,” Casilao told Davao Today on Wednesday.
In his video message during a forum at the Ateneo de Davao University on June 8, Sison said they appreciate the initiatives undertaken by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte who pronounced his interest in resuming the peace negotiations with the NDF even before the elections.
“President-elect Duterte has long demonstrated that he has the strength of character, the political will and determination to engage the revolutionary forces and do what is good for the people,” Sison said.
He added that Duterte “is not afraid of denouncing foreign interlopers and the oligarchs and describing himself as a socialist and as the first Left president of the Philippines.”
He said the NDFP is seriously studying the possibility of a government of national unity, peace and development under Duterte’s administration. (davaotoday.com)