Deles: No schedule yet for PNoy-Joma meeting

By Jose Rodel Clapano, Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 04 2015 12:16 PM | Updated as of Jan 04 2015 08:16 PM

MANILA, Philippines - There is no schedule yet for the meeting being sought by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison with President Aquino, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said yesterday.

“Nothing in immediate horizon. The important thing is to get serious negotiations restarted,” Deles said, as she reiterated the government stand that peace can only be achieve through peace itself.

“Nothing else happens without that,” Deles said.

Sison earlier expressed intention to meet with President Aquino regarding the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The NDF is the umbrella organization representing the CPP and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) in the peace talks with the government.

Malacañang earlier declared the government is open to resuming peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF, but this can only happen without any preconditions, such as the release of detained CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Malacañang said the policy of no preconditions on peace talks is applicable to the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The government and the MILF succeeded in the peace talks with the aim of establishing a new Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao under the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro signed in March 2012.

Deles is hoping Congress would soon pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would allow self-rule in Mindanao.

“We are working on the first quarter passage before Congress goes into Holy Week recess,” Deles said.

Once the BBL is passed into law, a plebiscite will be held in the areas to be covered by the new Bangsamoro government that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Despite the success of forging a peace agreement with the MILF, it remains elusive on the part of the communists.

Despite recent developments that gave some encouraging signs, there is no clear indication that the suspended peace talks between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF will push through before Aquino steps down in 2016.

The negotiations between the government and the communist rebels broke down in February 2013.

The government cited lack of sincerity and political will on the part of the communists.

While expressing readiness to resume the peace talks, Deles said that the resumption of the peace talks should be on the basis of a “doable and time-bound agenda.”

Sison said the government and the CPP might return to the negotiating table in the second week of January after the visit of Pope Francis.

Sison noted a comprehensive agreement on economic reforms, truce and cooperation could still be accomplished before Aquino finishes his term should the government and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process be fair in the negotiations.

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