Duterte gov't, Reds restart talks, restore ceasefire

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2017 08:05 AM | Updated as of Mar 12 2017 09:28 AM

Members of the negotiating panels of the Philippine government and National Democratic Front agree to restart peace talks. Photo courtesy of Jon Bustamante, altermidya.net

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's government and communist rebels have agreed to revive formal peace negotiations after a one-month-long suspension, according to a joint statement released Sunday.

The military and New People's Army guerrillas agreed to restore their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations before the talks resume in the first week of April. A bilateral truce will be negotiated, the statement said.

The government will also release a rearrested consultant of the left and reactivate an an agreement on immunities to allow 19 others to participate in the talks, the statement said.

Manila also committed to ensure the participation of four detained consultants in the talks by exerting "best efforts" to release them before the April round. It will also "work for the release" of 19 political prisoners based on humanitarian grounds.

Duterte "closely monitored" the two-day exploratory talks in the Utrecht from Friday, where the decision to resume formal negotiations was reached, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

Another round of talks was scheduled in June, according to the joint statement.