Palace welcomes resumption of talks with Reds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2017 05:36 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2017 06:04 PM

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. File photo

MANILA (UPDATED)- Malacañang on Sunday said it welcomes the revival of formal peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels after a month-long suspension.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Palace remains hopeful that communist leaders can rein in its ground troops to reciprocate efforts of the Duterte administration towards a peace deal.

"The resumption of the peace talks is a welcome sign that both sides are in agreement about the common good of the Filipino people," Abella said in a text message.

A joint statement released earlier Sunday said the military and New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas agreed to restore their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations before the talks resume in the first week of April.  

Abella reminded communist rebels that peace efforts are not only the responsibility of the government but of both parties.

"Peace-building, after all, is not the exclusive responsibility of the government. The burden is also shared by those who claim to speak for the underserved," Abella said.

Bayan party-list also welcomed the resumption of talks, calling it a "positive development" as both sides can address needed reforms.

"Forging these agreements stand to benefit the people and the nation," Bayan said in a statement.

However, the party together with Anakbayan party-list also called for an end of human rights abuses under the Duterte government.

"Amidst peace talks, Duterte regime must be held accountable for rights abuses and all-out war," Anakbayan said.

President Rodrigo Duterte last Tuesday admitted that there are "backchannel talks" with the communist rebels following the breakdown of peace negotiations last month. 

Duterte, however, said before negotiations can resume, communist rebels must cease from attacking government troops and stop collecting so-called revolutionary taxes.