Talks with Reds resume on October 6

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2016 02:37 PM

The negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist rebels is scheduled on October 6 to 10, according to the presidential peace adviser.

Speaking on ANC's Headstart on Tuesday, Secretary Jesus Dureza revealed that he, GRP Peace Panel Chair Secretary Silvestre Bello III, along with the rest of the panel will be flying to Oslo, Norway to tackle the mechanisms of the ceasefire declared unilaterally by both the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

"This is the second round. We are going to talk about the mechanisms of the ceasefire. Remember, yung na-declare natin na ceasefire, unilateral yun. Wala pa tayong agreed mechanisms doon, how to make it really work," he said.

Dureza said, although the negotiations are set for next month, there are already exchanges of drafts and meetings happening in Manila, including one on Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

He noted, the communists have returned the good faith of the government in releasing several of their political prisoners by declaring the ceasefire.

"Noon kasi, pag sinabi mong ceasefire, immediately, the talks will collapse. Ayaw ng CPP-NPA-NDF ng ceasefire at previous times. Kaya makita mo, all the parameters are out. The boundaries, the usual boundaries that were obstacles to moving forward the peace process are already sidelined," he said.

Apart from the ceasefire, they are also set to discuss socio-economic reforms "and other issues that are lined up," added Dureza.

Peace, he emphasized, is not solely based on the agreements penned, but also covers development that must happen simultaneously.

"Bringing sustainable peace is not only signing agreements. I always say, if we signed a thousand peace agreement, but there is no improvement of the lives of people, it will all be for naught," he said.

"Ultimately, it’s how to improve the lives of people—for the people who had taken up arms against the government, and not only them, but the bigger sector also that have not taken up arms against the government," he said.