Home » Breaking News » Duterte mulls ceasefire with communist
rebels before SONA, says gov’t negotiator

Duterte mulls ceasefire with communist
rebels before SONA, says gov’t negotiator

June 21 2016 2:40 PM

File image from MannyPinol's Facebook page
File image from MannyPinol’s Facebook page

(UPDATED as of 6:45 p.m., PH time) President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is considering a ceasefire with communist rebels before he delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, said incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Tuesday, June 21.

Bello, the incoming chairman of the government peace panel, made the announcement in a live broadcast of his press conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City. He spoke of the country’s peace talks with communist leaders in Oslo, Norway, where he was accompanied by Jesus Dureza, incoming presidential adviser on the peace process; and former Representative Hernani Braganza of Pangasinan.

“After we resume talks formally, we declare ceasefire, they (CPP-NDF) declare ceasefire, they we form the committees for implementation,” said Bello.

Bello also said that the Duterte administration was eyeing “a final peace agreement with the NDF (National Democratic Front)” in 9 to 12 months.

Bello added that the government panel was “prepared” to adjust its schedule based on Duterte’s time frame to curb drugs and crime in the country.

“Nilagay din namin sa aming isipan ‘yung timeline ni President Duterte. Kasi sabi nya ‘I will crush drugs, criminality, and corruption in 3-6 months.’ We are also prepared for that,” said Bello.

(We’ve also put in our minds the timeline of President Duterte. He said, ‘I will crush drugs, criminality, and corruption in 3-6 months.’ We are also prepared for that.)

To achieve the 9-12 month timeline, Bello said the government would “fast track” the peace process by coming up with a “new track” where committees would work simultaneously to address “social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, end of hostilities”, among others.

Bello said “this is the first time in 14 years” that the rebels agreed to a ceasefire because they no longer saw it as “a capitulation”.

A ceasefire is one of the demands of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) for peace talks to resume. Negotiations were set initially on the third week of July in Oslo, Norway.

READ: PH, communist leaders to resume peace talks in July—Duterte adviser

Duterte will address the nation for the first time as President on July 25.

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