DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Davao City Local Peace Committee (DC-Peace) will push through with their meeting on November 17 even after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) recently announced it opposes the said undertaking.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, one of the members of the DC-Peace, said despite CPP’s opposition, they will try their best to push through with the localized peace talks.

Their first agenda: a half-day refresher course on peace building.

Valles said that talking to commanders of New People’s Army fighters in Davao City will result to something good.

The CPP has warned the local government that its localized version of peace talks will only fail. It explained that only the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines represents the revolutionary forces in peace negotiations with the government.

READ: CPP, NDF reject localized peace talks, says Duterte is ‘wasting time’

The effort to push through localized peace talks was initiated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a move supported by her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte-Carpio initially planned to talk with the communists in February this year but it had to be deferred as the NDFP was on table with the government for the fourth round of peace negotiations.

Talks between both sides, though, had been stalled since May this year.

President Duterte had directed the negotiators not to resume the formal talks unless the communists agree to halt attacks against government troops in Mindanao, as well as its practice of collecting revolutionary taxes from plantations.

On the other hand, the communists asked to finish discussing all the substantial agenda, including social and economic reforms, political reforms and the release of political prisoners, prior to discussing the end of hostilities with the government.

Archbishop Valle admitted he is not too confident whether the local talks will prosper, but he said “talking is better than shooting.”

“We will try our best. The test will be on the actual talks, the human face of dialogue, of negotiations,” he said. (davaotoday.com)

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