Palace lays down “compelling reasons” to resume peace talks with Reds
Malacanang has laid down the "compelling reasons" for the resumption of the peace talks with the communist rebel group, one of which is forging a bilateral ceasefire.
"While it is understandable that suspicions linger about the motives of the parties on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, some 'compelling reasons' need to be provided for talks to resume, to wit: Agree to a bilateral ceasefire," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a statement on Monday.
Abella cited four conditions for a bilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). These include ceasing of the "revolutionary tax" or "extortion" by the NPA; ambushes on military personnel; burning of property; and provocative and hostile actions.
"Considering the unprecedented goodwill the president has shown, these actions from NDF may provide compelling reason and could put at ease, to some extent, the apprehension of the military and the administration," Abella said.
"After all when guns are silent, we can better listen to each other," he added.
The CPP has expressed willingness to return to the negotiating table and work for a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government.
Duterte ordered the government peace panel to withdraw from the peace talks with the NDF, the political wing of the CPP-NPA, early this month after the ambuscades allegedly perpetrated by the rebels, resulting to the death of six soldiers.
Prior to the termination of the talks, the CPP-NPA-NDF had declared the termination of its own ceasefire for failure of the Duterte administration to release some 400 political detainees.
Abella said, "It may be pertinent to take note that the NDF probably pushed the envelope too fast and too soon in demanding the full release of political prisoners prior to any signed agreement and for lifting the ceasefire ahead of their deadline."
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said his office welcomes and respects the positive position coming from the leadership of the CPP--NPA-NDF for the resumption of peace talks and possible forging of a bilateral truce.
"On the part of the Philippine government, we share the same commitment to work for just and lasting peace in the land. When 'compelling reasons,' as President Duterte earlier announced, are present, then we in government shall take the next necessary steps," he said.
Duterte was set to hold a meeting on Monday with left-leaning Cabinet officials, such as National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza and Agrarian reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, who are supporting move for the resumption of the peace process with the leftist rebel group. Celerina Monte/DMS