DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Pres. Rodrigo Duterte called off the scheduled resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on June 28 in Oslo, Norway.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said on Thursday the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) is looking for an “enabling environment” and to engage a “bigger peace table” in order for the peace negotiations with the communists to push through.
“Consequently, the initial timeline that our backchannel team had worked on with their counterparts (CPP-NPA_NDF) “across the table” had to be necessarily re-adjusted,” he added.
NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison scoffed at the cancellation saying, “(I)t is starkly clear that the GRP under Duterte is not interested in serious peace negotiations with the NDFP.”
He pointed out that the enabling environment referred to by the Dureza is an indefinite ceasefire amounting to the surrender of revolutionary forces.
He said the government is “breaking the provision in the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on the Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which requires formal negotiations in a foreign neutral venue and therefore putting the negotiations under the control and under duress of an emerging fascist dictatorship and its armed minions.”
Written agreements on the supposed scheduled events were signed by the chairpersons of the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello and Fidel V. Agcaoili,and witnessed by the Royal Norwegian special envoy Ambassador Idun Tevdt on June 9.
Sison urged the two negotiating panels to release to the public and the media the written and signed agreements of june 9 and 10.
Fidel Agcaoili, chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel considered the move a setback from the schedule that the two parties have agreed upon and says that they are ready to receive the GRP team this weekend for an explanation on the unilateral decision made by the GRP.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360 formally terminating the peace talks with the National Democratic Front on November 23, 2017.
President Rodrigo Duterte instructed Dureza’s office to engage a bigger “peace table” to generate public support.
The government will be conducting public consultations and coordinate with the private sector to ensure that the agreements agreed on a consensus in the negotiation table earns support.
Dureza said “We need a close study for lessons to learn from to insure that our last chance to put a dignified closure to the armed rebellion will not be squandered away.” (davaotoday.com)