NOORDWIJK AAN ZEE, The Netherlands — The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said President Rodrigo Duterte might not get exactly what he wants, but said they are open to make adjustments.
Luis Jalandoni, Senior Adviser of the NDFP told Davao Today in an interview after the opening of the fourth round of talks here Monday, April 3, “Siguro hindi exactly yung gustong gusto niya. Pwedeng merong adjustment. Alam naman ng panel kailangan may adjustment sa peace negotiations (It might not be exactly how he wants it but there could be adjustments. The panel knows that adjustments are necessary in peace negotiations).”
On Sunday, the day that the fourth round of talks between the government and the NDFP was supposed to start, Duterte said there must be a signed ceasefire agreement, that communists must stop collecting revolutionary taxes and claiming any territory in the country, and that they should release its prisoners of war.
“’Pag wala yan, walang peace talks. (If we cannot have that, there will be no peace talks,” he said.
Jalandoni said the NDFP proposes to have a memorandum of understanding which will bind the unilateral ceasefire agreement of the parties into an interim bilateral ceasefire.
“May proposal ang NDF na igawa sa isang memorandum of understanding yung dalawang unilateral ceasefire agreement iba-bind into an interim bilateral ceasefire. It’s one way to meet the demand or the condition of President Duterte,” Jalandoni said.
Revolutionary taxes, NPA territories
Jalandoni maintained that the revolutionary taxes collected by the NPAs are “not extortion.”
“Hindi extortion yun. Yun ay pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa sambayanansa mga magsasaka. Pagbibigay ng services gaya ng health na hindiginagawa sa maraming lugar, pagbigay ng land reform, pagbaba ngpagbabayad sa mga landlords at tsaka yung pagbigay ng edukasyon(That is giving service to the people like health and education, aid to farmers through land reform and decrease of usurers paid to that is not done in many areas in the country),” he said.
Unlike taxes collected by government, Jalandoni said the revolutionary taxes goes directly for the services given to communities through what they call as a “people’s democratic government.”
Jalandoni also said that a lot of communities in the Philippines are receiving “services, protection” from the NPA.
Although he did not mention where or how many barangays, Jalandoni said: “Maraming areas ay talagang under the influence and control na ng CPP and NPA kaya merong away sa kabilangpanig kelangan maaddress sa peace negotiations (There are several areas under the influence and control of the CPP and NPA that’s why there is armed conflict between the two parties which the peace negotiations hope to address).”
Government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III said the President’s conditions are “reasonable.”
“It’s a reasonable demand from our President to make the ceasefire agreement meaningful,” he said.
Duterte called the government peace panel to give his instructions on Sunday, resulting to the government and the NDFP engaging in informal talks to discuss Duterte’s conditions.
Duterte added: “I’m occupying a position with a burden of getting this country back to peace. That is my mission but there is a condition attached to it, yung apat na nabigay ko, otherwise, wala akong magawa and I would be telling the Filipino people we’ll just have to fight until kingdom come, wala akong magawa.”
The Parties are continuing the discussion on ceasefire and social and economic reforms on their second day of the fourth round of talks.
Both Panels also continued to discuss the “final instructions” of the President to the government panel.
“President Duterte wants to give final instructions, okay kasi siyempre principal nila yan na leader (As their principal leader, it is okay for President Duterte to give them final instructions). So what he says to them will be important to be taken up by both sides,” Jalandoni said. (davaotoday.com)