Reds reorganize peace panel ahead of Oslo talks


Posted at Oct 06 2016 09:13 AM

MANILA - Communist rebels have reorganized their peace negotiating panel, ahead of the resumption of formal talks with the government in Norway this week, a spokesman said.

Vice Chairman Fidel Agcaoili assumed the chairmanship of the panel, replacing long-time head Luis Jalandoni. National Democratic Front consultant Benito Tiamzon was also named to the negotiating team, said panel spokesman Dan Borjal.

Borjal said on Wednesday the panel granted Jalandoni's "long-standing request" to step down. He said Tiamzon's addition was expected to strengthen the team.

Socio-economic reforms are high on the agenda when the talks resume in Oslo.

President Rodrigo Duterte has made securing a peace deal with leftist and Muslim rebels a priority since assuming office last June 30.

The Philippines is battling one of the world's longest-running Maoist insurgencies, which has claimed roughly 30,000 lives since the 1960s. -- With a report from Dexter Ganibe, DZMM