NDFP open to revival of peace talks

Apr. 05, 2018

In this file photo taken on May 27, 2018, members of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panels posed for a photo op together with the officials of the Royal Norwegian Government hosting the fifth round of talks at the Radisson Blu Palace Hotel in Noordwijk Aan Zee in the Netherlands.

MANILA, Philippines — The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Wednesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s openness to revive the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.

NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison said this after Duterte bared he was open to resuming the peace talks with communists for as long as a mutual ceasefire was declared, and communists stop collecting “revolutionary taxes from businesses,” among others.

Sison said the NDFP is likewise open and ready to resume the peace negotiations and expects both panels to meet as soon as possible to discuss the drafts prepared on October 4, 2017.

“We are sincere in striving to negotiate and forge with the GRP comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis of a just and lasting peace as well as corollary agreements to amnesty and release all political prisoners and to have coordinated unilateral ceasefires to start the enjoyment of peace,” he added.

The progressive leader said this move is a response to the Filipino people’s clamor for a just and lasting peace.

“We hope that from here on we can make steady and significant advances on the road of realizing peace in accordance with the people´s demand for full national independence, democracy, social justice, economic development and cultural progress,” he added.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he would resume talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) if its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), agrees with a ceasefire, and stop collecting “revolutionary taxes.”

“You stop immediately. You and I ceasefire tayo. Wala ni isang putok, ni labintador [No single shot, not even firecracker] and I will be happy,” Duterte said in a speech during the inauguration of Lisap Bridge in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro.

“Hintuan ninyo ang revolutionary government. Huwag na kayo magsunog in the name of taxation kasi kakaawa ang negosyante,” he added.

While Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate see this as a welcome development, he said it would be best if both parties would not set preconditions for the revival of the peace negotiations.

“While we welcome Pres. Duterte’s openness to the resumption of talks, it would be best if the two parties would not set preconditions for it to resume. It is important, though, that past mutual binding commitments and agreements be honored and complied with,” Zarate said in a statement Wednesday.

Duterte terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP in November last year. He consequently issued a proclamation declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.

But the return of the two panels to the negotiating table resurfaced after at least 61 multi-partisan House members signed a resolution urging the President to resume the negotiations.

Even Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and other senators have also expressed support for the revival of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP.

With the possible revival of peace talks, full implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER) can be achieved.

CASER, which contains the commitments of both panels for genuine agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, independent foreign policy and fiscal and monetary policies, among others, is seen as one of the steps to solve poverty and social inequality in the country. (davaotoday.com)

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