PH, communist leaders to resume
peace talks in July–Duterte adviser

June 16 2016 6:58 PM

File image from Rody Duterte's Facebook page
File image from Rody Duterte’s Facebook page

Peace efforts between the government and communist rebels may resume formally under the Duterte administration, on the third week of July,in Oslo, Norway, according to incoming presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza in a post on his Facebook account on Thursday, June 16.

Dureza posted a copy of the signed joint statement by representatives of the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Dureza said that in the meeting to be held also in Oslo, both parties agreed to discuss:

* an accelerated process for negotiations;

* reconstituting the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), which provides safety and immunity guarantees that protect the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the peace talks;

* amnesty and release of all political prisoners;

* and mode of interim ceasefire.

For its part, the government panel will recommend to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte the immediate release of NDF consultants and other Jasig-protected personalities and of other detainees based on humanitarian grounds.

Signing the statement was:

* Dureza
* incoming peace panel chairman Silvestre Bello III
* incoming member Hernani Braganza
* NDF panel chairman Luis Jalandoni
* NDF panel member Fidel Agcaoili
* NDF panel chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison

Also signing was witness Elisabeth Slattum, Norway’s special envoy to the Philippine peace process.

In a separate radio interview on Thursday, Dureza was asked about the military reaction to the NDF proposal to free all political prisoners.

“With Duterte’s very aggressive decision on the matter, we trust that this can be cleared and everybody will cooperate,” said Dureza, adding that objections “will be addressed properly” by the president.

Dureza said he was confident about the resumption of the peace talks with the communist rebels.

“Secretary Bello former congressman Nani Braganza, and I talked and we agreed that although we are veterans in the talks, we have not accomplished what we have accomplished in all the time that we were there,” Dureza said in Filipino.

Nani Braganza is Hernani Braganza, a member of the government peace panel.

Dureza said that the “best factor” in the negotiations was the president himself.

“[What] we should give credit to are the new approaches that our president is doing. There’s a lot of goodwill. The final meeting wasn’t difficult,” said Dureza.

“We credit that to President Rody Duterte. [The] big difference is we’re very transparent.” said Dureza.

READ: ‘And the talks begin’ for PH, communist leaders in Oslo—Duterte peace adviser

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