DAVAO CITY, Philippines–The peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is back on track, according to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, in a statement issued Sunday.
“I am pleased to announce that the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army / National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/ NDF) which broke down weeks ago, are now back on track again,” Dureza said, who is presently at Utrecht, The Netherlands, where a two-day backchannel talks were held from March 10 and 11.
With this development, Dureza announced that the “unilateral ceasefire” which was earlier terminated is now “deemed restored and reinstated.”
He, however, pointed out that the unilateral ceasefire “would be made effective only as soon as the respective forces of both sides are duly informed but definitely before the next round of talks in April, 2017.”
Apart the restoration of the unilateral ceasefire, Dureza also announced that the effectivity of the agreement on safety and immunity guarantees ( JASIG) for the NDF consultants and their staff who were in jail or otherwise constrained which was earlier terminated by President Rodrigo Duterte, has been “restored for them to physically surface and join in the peace work.”
On Sunday, both the government and NDFP peace panels issued a joint statement after the successful informal talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Both Parties agree to reaffirm all the earlier bilateral agreements and statements in the previous peace talks such as on The Hague Join Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
An interim bilateral ceasefire agreement will be signed only after “the terms of reference and other considerations shall have been settled.”
“The Parties agree to reinstate their respective unilateral ceasefire which shall take effect before the scheduled fourth round of talks in April 2017 as soon as their respective forces shall have been informed,” it said in a statement.
The government, for its part, would ensure the participation of the four detained political consultants in the fourth round and succeeding talks. Likewise, it also vowed to release all the political prisoners listed by the NDFP before the start of the forthcoming talks.
The next round of peace talks will be held in the first week of April this year while the fifth round is slated on June. (davaotoday.com)