MANILA- Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza has expressed openness to the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) call to proceed with the bilateral ceasefire negotiations.
“We welcome and respect the positive position coming from the leadership of the CPP/NPA/NDF. On the part of the Philippine government, we share the same commitment to work for just and lasting peace in the land,” Dureza said in a statement.
The CPP on Sunday said it is open to a bilateral ceasefire with the government if President Rodrigo Duterte decides to send the government panel to the scheduled talks on February 22-27 in the Netherlands.
As a “positive gesture,” the CPP also announced that it has ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to release 6 “prisoners of war.”
Earlier this month, Duterte withdrew the government’s unilateral ceasefire and terminated talks after a series of armed clashes between soldiers and communist rebels.
(READ: Duterte suspends peace talks with Reds)
Dureza added that if "compelling reasons" of President Duterte are met by the CPP, then the government shall take the “necessary steps” for the talks.
The release of about 400 political prisoners is one of the main reasons for the collapse of the talks.
Duterte had been firm on not releasing all political prisoners without a final peace agreement, a decision that did not sit well with the communists.
On Sunday the CPP said it extends its invitation to start talks on a bilateral ceasefire on the grounds that Duterte has previously said all political prisoners will be released within 48 hours once the agreement is signed.