Thursday, June 7, 2018

Stand down agreement likely: Joma

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 7): Stand down agreement likely: Joma

SELF-EXILED communist party founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison yesterday said “a stand down agreement” may be reached by the communist movement and government negotiators later this month.

“If the back channel talks go well...there will be a stand down agreement starting June 28,” said Sison. The four-day back channel talks between government and communist negotiators started yesterday in the Netherlands.

The two panels of negotiators are eyeing to resume the formal peace negotiations on June 28.

“This stand down will become the coordinated unilateral ceasefire when the interim peace agreement is approved,” said Sison.

Earlier reports said the proposed stand down agreement requires government soldiers and New People’s Army rebels to “stay where they are” and “not commit any offensive action or operation against combatants and civilians.”

Sison said the coordinated unilateral ceasefire will later advance to bilateral ceasefire once the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform (CASER) is signed by the two sides.

“When there is already an amnesty and release of all political prisoners and CASER is mutually approved already, the coordinated unilateral ceasefire will become a bilateral ceasefire,” he said.

“You are going to know in a joint announcement the result of the back channel talks on June 9 or June 10,” said Sison.

President Duterte has ordered government negotiators in April to word towards the resumption of the talks which he terminated last year amid a series of rebel attacks on civilian and military targets.

Sison said the stand down agreement and the coordinated unilateral ceasefire are among issues being discussed in the back channel talks.

Also due to be discussed in the back channel talks are the draft amnesty proclamation for political prisoners, agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, and CASER.

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