By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza expressed confidence that communist rebels would agree to the resumption of peace talks after President Duterte offered “another last chance” to forge a peace settlement.
In an interview on Super Radyo DZBB, Dureza said he believes both the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) have learned from the previous rounds of talks, which broke down after the failure to maintain an enabling environment for negotiations.
“There is really an intention of both sides to put an end to this problem, this tragedy of Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos. I’m confident that both sides will grab the last chance to work toward a final settlement,” Dureza said.
The peace adviser emphasized that peace negotiations are essential in ending the decades-old communist insurgency.
“Hindi kasi natin pwedeng tapusin itong problema ng insurgency sa bakbakan lamang (We cannot end the problem of insurgency just by fighting). We need to address the root causes,” he said.
Dureza also reiterated the importance of a ceasefire agreement for talks to move forward.
“Kailangan wala munang insidente ng pag-atake para nakikita ng taumbayan ang (There should be no more incidents of attacks so that the people can see the) sincerity on both sides,” he said.
During the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the President instructed Dureza to work on the resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army–National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), with the order to work out a ceasefire agreement.
The President is also “committed to provide support, if necessary, in replacement of the revolutionary tax that he asked to be stopped.”
The government and CPP-NPA-NDF have conducted four rounds of talks from 2016, resulting in the signing of several agreements.
These include the supplemental guidelines for the joint monitoring committee for the observance of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the reaffirmation of previously signed agreements such as The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.