Photo from KODAO PRODUCTIONS’ special coverage of GRF-NDFP peace talks
The Philippine government and the National Democratic Front peace panels admitted that the peace talks this time will not be easy.
This is after conditions have been set by President Rodrigo Duterte prior to the start of the fourth round of the formal peace talks.
The primary condition is a signed bilateral ceasefire agreement.
However, in NDF peace panel chairman Fidel Agcaoili’s statement, he asserted that before a joint ceasefire, the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms must first be signed to resolve the root of poverty in the Philippines.
“I share Professor Sison’s positive views and reiterate the wisdom of securing the approval of the case (Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms) ahead of any bilateral ceasefire agreement, unless both agreements can be signed simultaneously. It is important to stress this as the issue of ceasefire should not be pursued as an end in itself,” he said.
Government peace chief negotiator Sec. Silvestre Bello III urged the other party to immediately resolve the armed conflict that has long been existing in the country.
“As you will agree with me, the forging of the ceasefire agreement is not about ‘giving in’ or ‘giving up’; it is about ‘giving all’ for peace. This is the covenant of President Duterte to our people. And we as peace workers ourselves, we should be one with him,” he said,
President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Monday the “lack of progress” in the peace talks.
“We are facing so many fronts. We are facing the NPA’s. We are having talks in the Netherlands. They have not made any progress because I have some conditions to impose before we go back to… we did it, yet they did not comply with the agreement,” he said.
The President said he is ready to use the entire military force against the communist rebels in case the rebels do not completely sign an agreement for a long lasting peace in the country.
“I will utilize the air assets. Before it was not really a popular choice, option… but this time, if we do not come up with an agreement, I will not hesitate to use the full power of the state,” the President added. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
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