Tiamzons return to Manila after Reds, gov't agree to resume talks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2017 10:36 PM

Photo by Raoul Esperas

MANILA – Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon returned to Manila Thursday night, after the Philippine government and the rebels agreed to resume peace negotiations.

They arrived at around 6:55 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on board a Turkish Airlines flight.

A foreign diplomat gave the couple port courtesy upon their arrival.

The communist leaders led their delegation in backchannel talks with the government in Europe, which resulted in an agreement to restart talks and restore a ceasefire.

On Wednesday, CPP founder Jose Maria Sison thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for resuming the peace negotiations.

"I wish to express deep appreciation to President Rodrigo Duterte for deciding to continue the peace negotiations," he said in a statement.

Duterte revealed backchannel talks with the communists last week, following the breakdown of talks last month due to clashes between government troops and communist fighters, and Duterte’s dismissal of calls for the release of about 400 political prisoners.

Clashes between communist rebels and the military continue, as a unilateral ceasefire had yet to be declared as of this writing.

According to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, the government and the National Democratic Front have not decided on a date for the cessation of hostilities.

The New People’s Army (NPA) on Tuesday said that they will continue to counter offensives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines until the communist leadership instructs them to observe the unilateral ceasefire.

In a joint statement over the weekend, the government and rebel negotiators said that another round of talks was scheduled in June.