(Davaotoday.com file photo)

(Davaotoday.com file photo)

DAVAO CITY – The emissary of the National Democratic Front said there is a possibility of an accelerated peace negotiations between the NDF and the government under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview with Davao Today on Wednesday, May 18 NDF spokesman Fidel Agcaoili said the substantive agenda on the peace process are “sequential”, but while they are discussing a substantive agenda, working groups on other agenda may start their discussion.

The four substantive agenda of the formal peace negotiations between the government and the NDF include human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

With an accelerated peace negotiations, reciprocal working committees on the socio-economic reforms may meet and work on an agreement, while the working groups for the political and constitutional reforms and the reciprocal working committees on end of hostilities and disposition of forces may also start their discussions and draft agreements.

“It can be done simultaneously,” Agcaoili said.

He said they have already presented this possibility in previous administrations and will reiterate their position to Duterte. Agcaoili said this was initially discussed during Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines founder Prof. Jose Maria Sison’s Skype conversation.

Duterte and Sison also talked about the possible agreement on ceasefire, release of the political prisoners, and the possible return of Sison, the exiled Party leader.

Agcaoili, who met with Duterte early morning on Tuesday, said Sison and Duterte’s meeting would probably take time even after Duterte’s proclamation on June 30.

However, he said Duterte has already planned on sending the government’s emissary to talk about ceasefire and the general amnesty to be given to all political prisoners.

“That would be easier, the president has the right to declare a general amnesty, not just pardon,” said Agcaoili.

Agcaoili said this would give a chance for the NDF consultants to perform their functions in the peace negotiations and start the processing of the necessary documents.

Human rights group Karapatan said there are 18 NDF peace consultants out of the 543 documented political prisoners in the country. Also, 88 political prisoners need proper medical treatment and 48 are elderly.

“Majority, if not all, of the political prisoners were detained based on trumped-up criminal charges against them, violating their rights under the GPH-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

‘NDF confident with gov’t negotiator’

Agcaoili also said that they welcome the appointment of Rep. Silvestre Bello III as the government’s negotiator with the NDF.

“Maganda ang naging karanasan ng NDF kay Bebot Bello sa pag-uusap. Sa panahon niya, nagkaroon kami ng maraming agreements na napirmahan, 10 agreements (The NDF had a good experience with Bebot Bello in the negotiations. During his stint as negotiator we signed 10 agreements),” said Agcaoili.

Duterte during his press conference on Monday, May 16 named Bello as the government’s chief negotiator for the NDF.

The peace talks between the NDF and the government was stalled since 2011.

The government panel blamed the CPP, NPA, and NDF for the delay.

Meanwhile, the NDF said Aquino is “insincere” in resuming the peace talks.

The NPA has celebrated its 47th year last March 29, 2016. The NDF said under Pres. Aquino’ administration, the NPA operates to more than 2,500 barrios presently, from 1,850. The guerrilla forces, they said, covers more than 200 municipalities in 20 provinces in Mindanao. (davaotoday.com)

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