Aquino: Talks with Reds next
MANILA, Philippines—After saying last year that forging a peace deal with the communist rebels appeared to be difficult, President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday “spoke about his resolve” to resume the talks, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
The President disclosed his intention to the Royal Norwegian Government Team of Facilitators which paid a courtesy call in Malacañang on Friday. The team is brokering the administration’s peace negotiations with the communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“The facilitators expressed that they felt now was a good time to move the peace process forward,” said Valte in a radio interview on Saturday.
“We all know that the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF have been delayed,” she said, adding that both the President and the Norwegian facilitators have seen the wisdom of resuming the talks.
CPP/NPA/NDF refers to the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front, the main organizations behind the communist-led decades-led insurgency.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is conducting an “internal review process” amid the NDF’s demand to free many of its detained consultants before talks could resume.
“But of course, this review process will be in accordance with our laws and with our court processes,” said Valte.
After the signing of the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Oct. 15 last year, Malacañang said it hoped the event would inspire the communist rebels to return to the negotiating table. Michael Lim Ubac