PRRD-NDFP possible meeting a welcome dev’t – Dureza

Published November 13, 2018, 3:42 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Francis Wakefield

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said he is hopeful the possible meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiators will lead to the resumption of peace talks.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza (photo courtesy of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process/ Facebook)
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza (photo courtesy of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process/ Facebook)

In a phone patch interview in ANC’s Dateline Philippines, Dureza said both parties’ recent gestures are a “welcome development” in moving peace forward with the Communists.

“The announcement of the President is something that we should welcome, and we should also welcome the openness of CPP-NPA-NDF to work towards resumption of peace negotiations,” Dureza said.

Dureza also expressed confidence the President will continue his administration’s pursuit for lasting peace.

“While he’s being forceful in seeing to it that there is peace in the country, he also knows that we cannot just resolve this militarily. We also have to address the root cause,” the peace adviser said.

The President had said during the Subaraw biodiversity festival in Palawan on November 10 that he may meet with NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili and senior adviser Luis Jalandoni.

“Agcaoili and Jalandoni — I will not keep it a secret. I do not want iyang confidential-confidential. Pupunta dito sabi nila gusto nila akong kausapin. Ang problema nila pagka hinuli sila. So sabi ko talagang huhulihin kayo [I don’t want it confidential. They said they will go here to talk to me but the problem is they will be caught. I said, I will really arrest you],” Duterte said.

Duterte said he immediately convened a meeting with military officials to discuss the request of the two negotiators.

“Nagtawag ako ng cluster meeting kasali na mga military. So what do you think? Sabi nila, baka. Baka pala. It’s not a very big margin there. Pero baka pala [I called for a cluster meeting including the military. So what do you think? They said, maybe. It’s not a very big margin there but maybe],” he said.

The President also said he will announce if the meeting will push through when he comes back from participating in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits in Singapore and Papua New Guinea, respectively.

“So, when I go back after Papua New Guinea and Singapore, I will make the announcement. Kaya usap tayo ulit kasi baka, baka pala [so let’s talk again because it’s a maybe],” he said.

AFP supports peace initiatives and dialogues

The military also said it supports peace initiatives and dialogues that will help bring about lasting peace to the country.

“We are always thinking positively that peace initiatives will result in favorable conditions towards peace that will benefit the peace-loving Filipinos,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato.

“While your AFP is always prepared for war, we are also prepared for peace,” he added.

In a statement posted on the NDFP website on Sunday, November 11, Agcaoili disclosed that he, Jalandoni and Panel member Coni Ledesma will be returning to the country this month “in connection with our work as members of the NDFP component in the joint monitoring committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRHIL).”

This, despite the decision of President Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government (GRP) and NDFP.

In the same statement, Agcaoili said they would also “welcome the opportunity to meet with the President unless he does not want to or his military is against it.”

The NDFP official also said they planned to pay a courtesy call on Bjorn Jahnsen, the new ambassador of Norway to the Philippines, who replaced Erik Forner. The Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) had been acting as the third party facilitator of the GRP-NDFP talks.