Glimmer of hope for peace talks with Reds » Manila Bulletin News



By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte may reconsider his decision to terminate the peace negotiations between Philippine Government (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) if the Communist group will show sincerity in the peace efforts, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The ball is in the court of the CPP-NPA-NDFP,” Roque told a media briefing in Malacañang Palace Tuesday.
But Roque averred that Proclamation 360, which Duterte issued last November 23, continues to be in effect.

“The cessation of peace talks is permanent for now. We’ve shut the doors for now to any on-going peace talks. I am not in position to say that the doors will forever be shut. We need to see sincerity on the part of the CPP-NPA. Show us that you are sincere and I’m sure the president will act accordingly,” Roque added.

Both parties were supposed to resume backchannel talks last November 25 in Oslo, Norway as brokered by the Royal Norwegian Government, the third party facilitator of the negotiations.

But this was called off after the President issued Proclamation 360 in reaction to an NPA ambush in Bukidnon which resulted in the death of a four-month-old girl.

Roque underscored that Duterte had extended to the Communists goodwill, the first President to do so, after he appointed some of their stalwarts in the Cabinet.

Roque also pointed out that it would be “superfluous” for the government submit a written notice of termination because the CPP-NPA-NDF does not have the “status of a state.”

“That’s too legalistic an approach. It’s not as if we’re dealing with a treaty entered into by state parties. That’s enough that there is a formal proclamation. Whether or not they will given a formal letter of termination, to me, that what would be superfluous. Get a copy of the termination. Peace talks are over for now,” he said.

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