Communist rebels and the Philippine government formally resumed peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.
Government peace panel chair and Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello opened the second round of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, according to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Friday.
"I am confident that the steadfastness of both parties in resuming the peace talks last month will continue to animate our task for this round of talks," he said in his speech.
The secretary said they hope to draft an agreement on an indefinite joint ceasefire as discussed by both parties in the previous round of talks.
"The signing by the panels of the joint ceasefire this month as we also envisioned during the first round of talks, is being awaited by our public, especially by those communities that continue to be prejudiced by the armed conflict," said Bello.
Aside from the ceasefire, socio-economic reforms are also high on their agenda, according to negotiators.
The government panel hopes to complete negotiations in the next 12 months, said Bello.
"This will provide ample time for the Duterte administration to efficiently implement the agreements we reached. We trust the NDF will still be with us in the implementation of these agreements," he said.
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.