Palace waits for CPP move on peace overtures

By Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2012 04:49 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2012 01:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is still waiting for the response from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in getting its leaders to negotiate peace.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration also wants a final peace agreement with the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

"Our efforts in coming up with the Framework Agreement, with the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front shows our sincerity. And we have again offered the olive branch to the CPP-NPA-NDF. We are waiting for their response," he said.

President Aquino earlier said there is some reason to believe that the government is moving forward in terms of dialogue with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

However, he said he tends to be "pessimistic in the sense of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best insofar as peace talks with the communist rebels is concerned.”

“But at this point, I cannot tell you that there is a fixed date already when we will announce anything,” he added.

The peace talks were halted in February last year.

The two opposing sides could not agree on the implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The National Democratic Front said the compliance of the JASIG is key to the resumption of the negotiations.

The JASIG includes guidelines on who are covered by safety and immunity guarantees. It provides these guarantees not for just anyone on the CPP/NPA/NDF side, but only for individuals they had originally listed as participants in the peace negotiations.

The government said, however, that the list was placed in a 5.25 floppy disk, which could not be opened already since it was corrupted over time.

In a report from the Manila Standard, government peace panel member Jurgette Honculada said casualties as a result of the clash between the government and the NPA from 1978 to 2010 have reached 29,553.