REVOLUTIONARIES. Members of revolutionary groups under the National Democratic Front of the Philippines wore masks of the late New People’s Army commander in Davao City, Ka Parago to during a lightning rally along Crossing Elpidio Quirino Street, Davao City on Wednesday, March 29. The protest marked the 48th founding anniversary of the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines’s armed wing. (Paulo C. Rizal/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The local government here is forming a local committee that will be in charge of talking peace with the Communists.

The Local Peace Committee or DC-PEACE is a team of representatives from the local government unit and religious sector here, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in her State of the city Address on Tuesday, September 12.

Duterte-Carpio said the committee seeks “to manage the localized peace talks with the New People’s Army operating within the area of responsibility of Davao City.”

The DC-PEACE members are City Social Service and Development Office Chief Maria Luisa Bermudo, City Legal Officer Elisa Lapina, Punong Barangay Chair Jessielito Areja, and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.

Joining the committee are two “consultants” two which Duterte did not name.

“We are still vetting for a Chairperson from the private sector and we welcome your suggestions. The life of the committee will only be until November 2018. If there are no significant developments and movement in the localized process, we will pursue other options to attain peace,” she said.

She also asked the New People’s Army to work with them in this effort.

“I am asking our NPA friends to work with us in the local government. After all, we all want to see a better Davao and we surely can attain this if you work beside us,” the local chief executive said.

The mayor has repeatedly announced of her desire to pursue localized peace talks with the revolutionary movement. In April, Duterte-Carpio deferred her plans saying she will wait for developments on the formal talks which concluded its fourth round on that month.

In an telephone interview on Tuesday, Makabayan bloc lawmaker Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis Partylist said the localized peace talks may institute mechanisms to talk about the particularities of the issues raised by various sectors.

“Other stakeholders of the peace talks like the peasant groups, urban poor sector may bring up their issues to the local peace committee,” Casilao told Davao Today.

He also said the city government can work on “convincing the national government to continue with the efforts of a national formal peace negotiations.”

However, Casilao said since the problem on landlessness and poverty is national in scope, the local committee would only be limited.

“The root causes of the armed conflict should be addressed in the national scale because the problem of landlessness and economic inequality is a national problem,” he said. (

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