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You are here: Home ARMED CONFLICT Government welcomes Reds’ readiness to sign ceasefire pact

Government welcomes Reds’ readiness to sign ceasefire pact

By Edith Regalado and Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 13, 2016 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - The government peace negotiating panel welcomed yesterday the readiness of communist rebels to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government even before the release of political prisoners.

President Duterte has insisted he will not release any more political prisoners unless the leftist panel composed of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF) and New People’s Army (NPA) sign a document acceding to a bilateral ceasefire. 

“They want to release 130 prisoners before signing the peace agreement,” Duterte said during the 2016 awarding ceremony at Malacanang of the Ten Outstanding Filipino Awards. “I told (presidential peace adviser) Jess (Dureza) during the Cabinet meeting I will not do it. I have conceded too much too soon. So just give me the ceasefire agreement and I would release all of them. But not before.”

“I welcome the statement of Mr. Luis Jalandoni on the readiness of the National Democratic Front to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government even before the release of the political prisoners,” government peace panel chairman and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

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Bello said the left’s declaration is “indeed a welcome development” and “the best gift the government and the NDF can give to the Filipino people this holiday season.”

“This bodes well for a positive atmosphere when we meet again for the third round of talks in January,” he said.

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The two panels are set to resume peace talks next month. 

“May this lead to the permanent end of hostilities for the new year, leading to a just and lasting peace,” Bello said.

He said a bilateral ceasefire would not only benefit the combatants, but also those caught in the crossfire of the armed conflict.  

He said the government panel recognizes the NDF’s efforts to work with the government to attain peace.

“Its declaration of an indefinite unilateral ceasefire in response to President Duterte’s declaration in August is unprecedented and historic,” he noted. “Agreeing to a bilateral ceasefire is another milestone in the peace process.” – With Alexis Romero, Ding Cervantes



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