Duterte reviving talks with Reds

Published December 6, 2019, 1:02 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Genalyn Kabiling and Ellson Quismorio

Refusing to give up the quest for peace, President Duterte has directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to travel to the Netherlands and talk to communist leader Jose Maria Sison.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President admitted that his latest directive would be his “last card” to jumpstart peace talks with the communist group.

“This is the first time that I will reveal it. I am sending Secretary Bello, komunista naman talaga siya (He is a communist, anyway). He should go there, talk to them, and I cannot talk about it. Basta I’m sending him back to Sison and talk to him about, malaman lang ninyo yan pagdating ng panahon (you will know about it one day),” he said during the typhoon situation briefing in Legazpi City Thursday.

“If he agrees, ito ang sabi ko last card (If he agrees, I said this will be my last card). When I say last card, my time is running out,” said Duterte, who has less than three years in office.

Bello served as the chairman of the government peace panel.

Duterte explained that he could not totally close the doors on peace negotiations with the rebel group despite failed attempts. He said there must be at least one open channel to try to revive the talks.

“Three times we attempted to talk sense dito (here) and it has always failed. Now, I cannot stop. Hindi ko pwedeng sabihin na ayaw ko na makipag-usap (I don’t want to say I don’t want to talk anymore). That is not a statement of a leader, of a President,” he said.

“You should understand that the quest for, the longing for peace is always there not for military and police but for everybody na kailangan, the doors must be always open. there must be at least one channel if everything closes na pwede mong pakiusapan (that you can talk),” he said.

“With the government’s move to send back Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello, who was the chief of the government panel in the negotiations with the Communist Party, to the Netherlands, we are opening the possibility of resuming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

“We hope in good faith that Mr. José María Sison will seriously reconsider the government’s proposal that will be presented by Secretary Bello,” Andanar added.

Militant solons welcome move

Militant solons, likewise hailed the move of Duterte to revive peace talks.

“This is a positive development and we are calling for the immediate resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) based on the initialed agreements last June, 2017,” House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement.

Zarate’s fellow nominee, Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, underscored the importance of addressing the root cause of the communist rebellion during this possible return to the negotiating table.

“It is just right pay attention to the grievances of the community, to listen to the voice of the people and most of all resume the peace talks in order to tackle the root cause of the conflict in the country,” she said in the same statement.

This same positive outlook was echoed by another Makabayan Bloc lawmaker in ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro.

“It’s good to return to the nego[tiation] table and talk just peace. Hopefully, they formalize it according to the procedure. But it’s a welcome move. Hopefully it’s sincere,” Castro said.

Pending the resumption of the peace talks, he said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-ELCAC) will continue its “proactive thrust” to attain peace in the country. He noted that the task force’s initiatives have so far contributed to the path of peace and prosperity.

In his attempt to pursue peace talks, Duterte noted that there is a “serious problem of insurgency” in Bicol region. He lamented that many soldiers and policemen have been killed amid the insurgency conflict.

Last September, Duterte has ordered the military to launch a “full-scale” attack against the communist rebels with the chances of the revival of the talks “almost nil to nothing.”  Duterte, in declaring an all-out war against the rebels, said he would not accept any surrender amid plans to finish the insurgency problem within his term.

Early this year, he dissolved the government peace panel led by Bello since the peace talks were scrapped in November, 2017.

The government previously terminated the peace talks with the communist rebel group in protest of the atrocities committed against troops and civilian communities. Duterte instead repeatedly urged the rebels to surrender to the government, promising to give them food, shelter and livelihood assistance.

Faster process

As for the new iteration of peace talks, Zarate said the process would be faster if the two parties resumed where they left off, with no preconditions imposed.

“The last document the two negotiating panels agreed [on] was the Stand-Down Agreement that binds the military, the police, and the New People’s Army (NPA) from hostilities as ‘goodwill and confidence-building measures’ for the previously agreed resumption of the fifth round of talks supposed to be held last June 2018,” he pointed out. The NPA is the military arm of the CPP.

Zarate said the same document further stated that “the Stand-Down shall be declared and announced simultaneously by both parties one week before the agreed date of resumption of the formal talks” and that the “Stand-Down shall be understood to mean temporary cessation of hostilities in which the contending armed units and personnel of the parties stay where they are (‘as is where is’), take an active defense mode, and shall not commit any offensive action or operation against combatants and civilians.”

He pointed out that “the stalled fifth round of talks seeks to forge an Interim Peace Agreement which contains key provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), general amnesty of political prisoners, and coordinated unilateral ceasefire and would be a great stride for the negotiations.”

“As representatives of the people, members of the House of Representatives are duty bound to express the sentiments and interests of their constituents for the immediate resumption of the stalled peace talks and for the determined effort to find peaceful, just and lasting resolution to the armed conflict between GRP and NDFP,” Zarate said.

READ MORE: Militant solons hail Palace-ordered Bello mission to talk to Joma Sison in the Netherlands

 

 
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Duterte reviving talks with Reds

Published December 6, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling and Ellson Quismorio

Refusing to give up the quest for peace, President Duterte has directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to travel to the Netherlands and talk to communist leader Jose Maria Sison.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President admitted that his latest directive would be his “last card” to jumpstart peace talks with the communist group.

“This is the first time that I will reveal it. I am sending Secretary Bello, komunista naman talaga siya (He is a communist, anyway). He should go there, talk to them, and I cannot talk about it. Basta I’m sending him back to Sison and talk to him about, malaman lang ninyo yan pagdating ng panahon (you will know about it one day),” he said during the typhoon situation briefing in Legazpi City Thursday.

“If he agrees, ito ang sabi ko last card (If he agrees, I said this will be my last card). When I say last card, my time is running out,” said Duterte, who has less than three years in office.

Bello served as the chairman of the government peace panel.

Duterte explained that he could not totally close the doors on peace negotiations with the rebel group despite failed attempts. He said there must be at least one open channel to try to revive the talks.

“Three times we attempted to talk sense dito (here) and it has always failed. Now, I cannot stop. Hindi ko pwedeng sabihin na ayaw ko na makipag-usap (I don’t want to say I don’t want to talk anymore). That is not a statement of a leader, of a President,” he said.

“You should understand that the quest for, the longing for peace is always there not for military and police but for everybody na kailangan, the doors must be always open. there must be at least one channel if everything closes na pwede mong pakiusapan (that you can talk),” he said.

“With the government’s move to send back Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello, who was the chief of the government panel in the negotiations with the Communist Party, to the Netherlands, we are opening the possibility of resuming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

“We hope in good faith that Mr. José María Sison will seriously reconsider the government’s proposal that will be presented by Secretary Bello,” Andanar added.

Militant solons welcome move

Militant solons, likewise hailed the move of Duterte to revive peace talks.

“This is a positive development and we are calling for the immediate resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) based on the initialed agreements last June, 2017,” House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement.

Zarate’s fellow nominee, Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, underscored the importance of addressing the root cause of the communist rebellion during this possible return to the negotiating table.

“It is just right pay attention to the grievances of the community, to listen to the voice of the people and most of all resume the peace talks in order to tackle the root cause of the conflict in the country,” she said in the same statement.

This same positive outlook was echoed by another Makabayan Bloc lawmaker in ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro.

“It’s good to return to the nego[tiation] table and talk just peace. Hopefully, they formalize it according to the procedure. But it’s a welcome move. Hopefully it’s sincere,” Castro said.

Pending the resumption of the peace talks, he said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-ELCAC) will continue its “proactive thrust” to attain peace in the country. He noted that the task force’s initiatives have so far contributed to the path of peace and prosperity.

In his attempt to pursue peace talks, Duterte noted that there is a “serious problem of insurgency” in Bicol region. He lamented that many soldiers and policemen have been killed amid the insurgency conflict.

Last September, Duterte has ordered the military to launch a “full-scale” attack against the communist rebels with the chances of the revival of the talks “almost nil to nothing.”  Duterte, in declaring an all-out war against the rebels, said he would not accept any surrender amid plans to finish the insurgency problem within his term.

Early this year, he dissolved the government peace panel led by Bello since the peace talks were scrapped in November, 2017.

The government previously terminated the peace talks with the communist rebel group in protest of the atrocities committed against troops and civilian communities. Duterte instead repeatedly urged the rebels to surrender to the government, promising to give them food, shelter and livelihood assistance.

Faster process

As for the new iteration of peace talks, Zarate said the process would be faster if the two parties resumed where they left off, with no preconditions imposed.

“The last document the two negotiating panels agreed [on] was the Stand-Down Agreement that binds the military, the police, and the New People’s Army (NPA) from hostilities as ‘goodwill and confidence-building measures’ for the previously agreed resumption of the fifth round of talks supposed to be held last June 2018,” he pointed out. The NPA is the military arm of the CPP.

Zarate said the same document further stated that “the Stand-Down shall be declared and announced simultaneously by both parties one week before the agreed date of resumption of the formal talks” and that the “Stand-Down shall be understood to mean temporary cessation of hostilities in which the contending armed units and personnel of the parties stay where they are (‘as is where is’), take an active defense mode, and shall not commit any offensive action or operation against combatants and civilians.”

He pointed out that “the stalled fifth round of talks seeks to forge an Interim Peace Agreement which contains key provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), general amnesty of political prisoners, and coordinated unilateral ceasefire and would be a great stride for the negotiations.”

“As representatives of the people, members of the House of Representatives are duty bound to express the sentiments and interests of their constituents for the immediate resumption of the stalled peace talks and for the determined effort to find peaceful, just and lasting resolution to the armed conflict between GRP and NDFP,” Zarate said.

READ MORE: Militant solons hail Palace-ordered Bello mission to talk to Joma Sison in the Netherlands

 

 
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