Door for peace talks with Reds remains open

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The door for the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is still open subject to the conditions set by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Malacañang said.

“The door for peace talks remains open provided that PRRD’s conditions are meet,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement following the Command conference held Wednesday night.

DUTERTE SISON

Roque said one of the conditions is that the coalition government demanded by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison should not be part of the peace talks.

He said Duterte’s call for the holding of the talks in the country is another condition, along with the demand to stop collection of the so-called revolutionary tax.

Roque said cessation of hostilities in which the New People’s Army (NPA) are “encamped” in designated areas should be observed before resuming the talks.

Meanwhile, Roque said “localized” peace talks may be pursued by local government units (LGUs) “provided they do not concede any aspect of government and pursuant to guidelines to be agreed upon by the Cabinet cluster on security”.

dureza-jesusAccording to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, the “way forward” in the stalled peace talks was decided following the consolidations of various positions expressed during the command conference conveyed by Duterte in Malacañang.

Dureza said Duterte has also expressed his wish that Norway continues as facilitator in the event the peace talks are resumed.

Last month, Duterte decided to postpone the scheduled June 28 resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP to allow the government to “engage the bigger peace table, the general public”.

During the postponement, all backchannel talks are also suspended to allow the review of all signed agreements between the GRP and communist rebels.

Duterte has repeatedly invited self-exiled Sison to go home to talk peace within a 60-day window period. 

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