From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 19): Army chief vows to ensure security of GRP panel during consultations
The chief of the Philippine Army (PA) over the weekend vowed to ensure the security of members of the government peace panel negotiating with the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista, Philippine Army commanding officer, said Saturday the Army will also ensure the safety of all stakeholders, such as civil society groups, non-government organizations, during community consultations "to pave the way for a successful public engagement."
“Ang Army will just provide security. Ngayon kung may civil society or NGOs na pupunta sa lugar, we will ensure security nila para yung pag-uusap ay walang hadlang kasi kung ang isang grupo may takot hindi maganda ang kalalabasan ng consultation (The Army will just provide security. If there are civil society groups or NGOs which will go to the areas, we will ensure their security to pave way for the talks because if a group fears for its security the outcome of the talks will not be good),” Bautista said in an interview after the Eid’l Fitr celebration on Saturday evening at the SMX Convention Center.
Sought for his view on the rescheduling of the peace negotiations resumption, Bautista said President Rodrigo Duterte needed to go over some documents presented to him from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDF (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“Pag-aaralan ng Presidente ang mga documento na naglalaman ng recommendation ng CPP-NPA-NDF. Kung klaro na itutuloy naman ang peace talks (The President will study the documents containing the recommendations of the CPP-NPA-NDF. If everything is clear the peace talks will resume),” Bautista said. He, however, would not elaborate on the contents of the documents.
He said consultations are important for stakeholders to know all the issues surrounding the peace negotiations. He said the output from the public was important because they would ultimately be affected the outcomes of the peace agreement.
Last week, President Duterte asked the government peace panel to further engage the public to draw more support for the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
This prompted the government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to reset the June 28 resumption of peace talks in Norway.
Presidential Peace Adviser, Secretary Jesus Dureza, on Thursday said the decision of the President aims to achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace.
Dureza explained that the success of the peace negotiations with the NDF will depend on whether it has broad support of the general public
Duterte suspended the talks with the NDF last year, seeing no clear indications of enabling environment to continue with the talks.