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Truce, amnesty for Reds approved

06:30 AM May 23, 2018

REBEL IN JAIL A general amnesty for communist rebels would cover Rafael Baylosis, a ranking rebel leader,who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame. —JOAN BONDOC

LUCENA CITY — A senior communist rebel leader said back channel talks between his group and government negotiators had resulted in “major points” of agreement, including one that would have rebels and the government separately but simultaneously declare a ceasefire alongside a general amnesty proclamation for rebels by Malacañang.

Jose Ma. Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder in exile in the Netherlands, said he was optimistic the talks would succeed because there have been “many major points of agreements” already.

Coordinated

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“That is the basis of my optimism,” said Sison, who is now serving as senior consultant to peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), an umbrella group of underground organizations involved in the protracted war against the government.

He said coordinated ceasefire declarations would be signed together with the amnesty proclamation and sections on agrarian reform and industrialization of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser).

Caser is considered to be the most important agreement being worked out by both panels in the negotiations.

“That is already the consensus of the two sides,” said the 79-year-old rebel leader.

Sison said the New People’s Army, armed wing of CPP, and the military would rest their guns shortly before formal negotiations start to generate trust between the negotiating panels.

“The stand down agreement is meant to simulate the atmosphere for peace negotiations two weeks before resumption,” he said.

‘Kinks’

He said the agreement would involve a joint monitoring committee “with more elaborate terms to ensure” that the ceasefire lasted.

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He admitted that there were still some “kinks” that presented a challenge to negotiators.

“I cannot say what the kinks are” before these are ironed out by negotiators, Sison said.

President Duterte, on May 4, ordered Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza to resume talks with NDFP in two months. —Delfin T. Mallari Jr.

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TAGS: Amnesty, communist rebels, CPP, Joma Sison, Jose Maria Sison, NDFP, NPA, Philippine peace talks, truce
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