Scrapping of backchannel peace talks a 'temporary hitch': Dureza

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2017 10:39 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2017 10:46 AM

HAPPIER TIMES: President Rodrigo Duterte pose for a photo with peace negotiators from the government and communist panels in Malacañang last September. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The cancellation of backchannel efforts to forge peace between the government and communist rebels is a "temporary hitch" that could still be resolved, a top adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday.

"Ngayon, pansamantalang aberya muna. Kung sa ilaw iyan, hindi naman switch on-switch off ito na papatayin mo talaga ang ilaw. May dimmer lang para puwede nating paliwanagin ulit at some future time," Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told radio DZMM.

(This is a temporary hitch. If we liken the negotiations to a light bulb, it won't be completely switch off, so to say. We will only be dimming so we could turn it brighter at some future time.)

The government cancelled backchannel negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines due to a series of attacks by its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

A militiaman was killed while 4 officers of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were wounded in an NPA ambush in Akaran, North Cotobato Wednesday.

NPA rebels in Palawan province also gunned down 2 members of the Philippines Marines Wednesday and bombed a military truck Tuesday.

Dureza noted communist negotiators lack full authority over their forces in the grassroots, citing information from CPP founding chairman Jose Maria "Joma" Sison.

"Sinasabi nga ni Joma, 'di ba, in an interview na 'Do not think that we have full control over our forces. We also deal with them,'" Dureza said.

"Like for example sa panel natin, we negotiate, we do not decide on our own. We have to refer to our principal, sa Presidente. Sa kanila, nagne-negotiate sila like us pero ang final decision, they also refer it to the local, the parties on the ground."

Duterte had raised hopes of bringing an end to the communist insurgency that has stunted development for years, especially in central parts of the Philippines.
 
The President however said formal peace talks with the Reds will not resume unless its members stop attacking government troops.