MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte assured the National Democratic Front (NDF) that its detained consultants will be able to fly to Oslo, Norway to participate in the formal talks with the Philippine government.
Labor secretary and government negotiating panel head Silvestre Bello III said Duterte assured NDF leaders in Malacañang yesterday that its detained consultants will be able to participate in the peace talks on August 22.
Among those allowed by the court to travel to Oslo are couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Satur Ocampo, Randall Echanis, Rafael Baylosis, Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jasminez and Ernesto Lorenzo. They are among the 18 leaders whose temporary liberty the Duterte administration is seeking from the courts.
The Tiamzons, Satur Ocampo and their co-accused are facing multiple murder charges for the killing of 15 civilians discovered in a mass grave in 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte.
The Philippine military arrested the Tiamzons, along with five others, in 2014 based on a warrant issued by a regional trial court in Leyte.
Benito is identified as the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) while his wife is the secretary-general of the group.
Silva, who was arrested at his home in Bacoor City in 2015, is identified as the CPP’s secretary-general and concurrent chief of the National Organization Department.
Chief NDF negotiator Luis Jalandoni said both sides are expected to agree to declare unilateral ceasefires.
The rebels also want to discuss the crafting of a general amnesty proclamation by Duterte covering all 550 detained members of the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA.
Benigno Aquino, the president before Duterte, shelved peace talks in 2013 after rejecting the front's demand that he free all imprisoned guerrillas.
With ceasefires in place, Jalandoni said the two parties could work on crafting reforms to address the roots of the conflict.
The Oslo talks are expected to tackle substantial issues on socio-economic reforms, political and constitution reforms, security and immunity guarantees, cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces. – with AFP