Government: Peace talks with communists should be held in PH

In line with the government’s pronouncement to move the scheduled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stated that any peace negotiation with communist rebels should be held inside the Philippines.

“This is a talk between Filipinos, it should be held in the Philippines,” President Duterte said.

“Hindi naman po kinakailangan pa na mangibang-bayan para makipag-usap kapayapaan lamang,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said.

The money that will be spent for negotiations in Norway could be put to better use in providing for the needs of the CPP-NPA while the peace talks are ongoing.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has not given up on the peace process with the Reds, Roque said. “He has always given priority to peace negotiations with both Muslim and Communist insurgents.”

Roque said the President just wanted to make sure that any agreement with the CPP-NPA would be all-inclusive and would pass the tests of both legal and political scrutiny.

“The delay, thus, in the talks with the CPP-NPA is indispensible if we are to have an agreement that will pass these tests,” Roque said.

To prove the government’s commitment to push through with the negotiation, Roque said President Duterte has directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file necessary motions in court to free individuals who are expected to participate in the talks.

“Of course, there’s information that these individuals cannot be located anymore even if they did not leave the country for Oslo, Norway. Nonetheless, the President says he will give the process a chance,” Roque said.

Roque reiterated the President’s assurance to CPP founding Chairman Jose Ma. Sison that he would guarantee his security should he decide to come home to the Philippines to take part in the peace talks.

On the other hand, Roque confirmed that there is no stand-down agreement yet between the government and the communist rebels.

Roque said the documents released by the National Democratic Front (NDF) showing the reported progress of the peace talks are yet to be authenticated.

“Wala pong stand-down agreement. Anyway wala pa naman pong resumption of peace talks. I’m sure kung magkakaroon po ng resumption of peace talks, that will be considered,” Roqur said, as he appealed to the communists to refrain from preempting the government in making announcements concerning the developments in the peace agreement.

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