The third round of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) is considered as the most crucial stage of the negotiations, according to NDF consultant Satur Ocampo.
Ocampo on Thursday said the third round of talks will deal on issues regarding social and economic reforms, which are the meat of the agreements.
“It will not stop in this period. This is setting the stage for a series of meetings to discuss social and economic reforms,” Ocampo said in an interview on “Mornings@ANC.”
He added that there are both high expectations and some reservations on both sides as the talks resume Thursday in Rome, Italy.
Ocampo said the length of the peace negotiations will depend on the number of general points on proposed social and economic reforms that will be agreed by both sides.
“The central issues are agrarian reform and national industrialization or the economic development, rural development and provision of more job security and the manufacture of our basic needs and the things for export. So, it is an overhaul of the present status of the economy,” he said.
“It will be reviewing standing economic agreements in international conferences whether these are beneficial to the Philippines or not and offering alternatives to that,” he added.
Ocampo added that talks on a bilateral ceasefire and the release of political prisoners will be continued in Italy as well.
President Rodrigo Duterte allowed 22 rebel leaders, including senior guerrilla commanders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, to post bail to kickstart the peace process last August.
However, communists are demanding the immediate release of 130 more political prisoners, saying most of the inmates are sick and elderly.
Duterte has refused to release more prisoners, saying he has made enough concessions.