Thursday, November 2, 2017

Resumption of peace gab with Left possible–Bello

From the Business Mirror (Nov 2): Resumption of peace gab with Left possible–Bello

IN spite of the more than five months of lull in the negotiating table, the government is not yet ready to give up on the prospect of peace with the communists.

This was revealed by President Duterte in a news briefing on Tuesday night. “We can talk continuously with the Left,” the President said.

“I am not about ready to give up everything and anything in the altar of peace for our country,” Duterte added. Peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) was suspended in May due to a battle order of the Communist Party of the Philippines to the New People’s Army (NPA) to heighten offensives in the face of martial law in Mindanao.

Since then, the government did not force the issue of returning immediately to the negotiating table, citing complexities on the ground and alleged attacks of the NPA.

Duterte maintained the easiest way to resolve the armed conflict is for the communists to lay down their arms and return their loyalty to the Philippine flag.

“I’m just saying that if you want to surrender, if you are tired of killing your fellow Filipino, then you surrender. I will give you a house and a job, no questions asked,” the President said.

“But you have to work [because] this is not an honorarium thing. You have to work for it,” Duterte added.

The President also said he is backing efforts of local government units to initiate localized peace talks with the communists, like what Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is doing.

In a television interview on Wednesday, Government Chief Negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III revealed the resumption of peace talks with the communists is gaining ground. “In my perspective, the prospect of a resumption is very bright,” Bello said.

Bello added the government panel is ready to return to the negotiating table with the NDF, and that all they are waiting for is Duterte’s green light. Bello also said he believes the President has not abandoned his aspiration for a “just and lasting peace.”

“We, in the panel, are hopeful that he will eventually order us to proceed with the talks with the [communists],” the peace negotiator said.

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