Gov't looks to engage 'directly' with Reds with localized peace panel

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2019 08:11 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte wants the creation of a new peace panel to give a "fresh hope" to ending the long-standing armed conflict in the country, the government's peace adviser said Monday. 

In a statement, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez said the new peace panel will oversee ongoing localized peace negotiations.

"The panel will oversee the localized peace engagements. It will act as the adviser for local peace dialogues through the establishment of protocols and other legal and systematic procedures. This includes the vital component of a security lens in this process, hence the need for former security officials to be part of the panel," he explained.

With the new peace panel, the government said it will be engaging directly with the people involved.

"Through the formulation of the new panel, government will be directly engaging the people on the ground to address the fundamentals of the problem," Galvez said.

Galvez also said the government has learned its lesson from the previous formal negotiations, thus, focusing more on localized peace engagements.

"The government has learned its lessons, albeit the hard way, from the previous formal negotiations that produced lopsided agreements that are not totally beneficial to the people," he said.

"Through the localized peace engagements, the government is creating the enabling environment for the peace process to progress and move forward," Galvez added.

The President formally announced the end of government's peace negotiations with communist rebels in March, after Malacañang terminated a government panel tasked to hold peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. 

Duterte had signed Proclamation No. 360 on Nov. 23, 2017 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines - Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army.

Another resumption was scheduled in late June last year but it was canceled as the government sought to review all agreements the communists signed with past administrations.

In December 2018, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 directing the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”

Government has also sought the declaration of the communist movement as a terrorist group.