Braganza: NDFP OK with public consultations on peace negotiations with Reds
Government negotiators claimed that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) reacted positively to taking part in public consultations on the peace negotiations.
In a statement on Thursday, government negotiator Hernani Braganza said they relayed to the NDFP the decision of presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza to consult agencies and the general public on the substantive issues involved in the proposed peace talks.
“They are favorably considering the invitation extended by Sec. Dureza and (Labor) Sec. (Silvestre) Bello for NDF representatives to join the public consultations on the peace negotiation,” Braganza said.
“The NDF leaders …expressed intention to conduct their own separate actions and activities that aim to protect the gains already achieved as a result of backchannel, informal, and formal talks between the two panels,” he added.
Braganza is part of the team engaged in backchannel talks with the NDFP.
On Dureza and Bello’s instructions, government negotiators flew to Utrecht in the Netherlands on June 18 to relay President Duterte’s decision to defer the resumption of the formal peace talks to the NDFP.
“In a meeting with the NDF leaders headed by Chief Negotiator Fidel Agcaoili and attended by Chief Political Consultant Jose Ma. Sison, the government team also conveyed the Philippine government’s decision to suspend all backchannel talks with the NDF pending the three-month review of all signed agreements related to the peace negotiations,” he said.
The suspension would not preclude communications between the two parties when necessary.
Braganza pointed out that the meeting was witnessed by third party facilitators from the Norwegian government.
He claimed that the NDFP representatives agreed to wait for the outcome of the three-month review “before proceeding with any peace conversation with [the] government.”
“They (NDFP) reiterated their commitment to all signed agreements, including those involving the planned visit of Prof. Jose Ma. Sison in the Philippines to Manila for a meeting with the President. In turn, we extended the government panel’s appreciation to the NDF’s open-mindedness in coming to terms with President Duterte’s decision,” he said.
Braganza added, “It is our fervent hope that the consultations will help galvanize public support to peace efforts aimed at ending the armed conflict through the achievement of economic, social and political reforms.” /ee
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