Gov’t peace panel ready to present draft reform agenda to Duterte
DAVAO CITY — The government panel in peace talks with communist rebels will present its draft socio-economic reform agenda to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the chief government negotiator, said on Saturday.
Bello said they would the draft would be be discussed in talks that would take place in Rome from Jan. 19 to 25.
The government panel will pay Duterte a courtesy call before leaving in batches for Rome on Monday evening and on Tuesday.
“We are all set and ready to engage the NDF in the discussion of all substantive agenda including supplemental agreements needed to proceed and arrive at a peaceful negotiated political settlement to end the armed conflict in the country,” Bello said.
He said he was optimistic that significant agreements could also be reached by the time they wrap up the talks in Rome.
“We are prepared to sign other agreements while we are discussing contents and provisions of the major substantive agenda,” he said.
When formal talks resumed in August, after stalling for five years, government and National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiators agreed to reaffirm all previous signed agreements and the reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Agreements (JASIG) and the release of NDF leaders and members.
In the succeeding Oslo talks, the government and NDF negotiators exchanged outlines and agreed to accelerate the negotiations.
Among the other documents the government would be willing to sign in Rome, Bello said, is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which will now include provisions on the expanded role of a Joint Monitoring Committee.
He said the government was also calling on the NDF “to formalize the unilateral ceasefire with a bilateral ceasefire agreement to give our communities and combatants a more secure environment for the peace process.” /ATM