DILG: More rebels might participate in peace talks if ‘localized’
Should negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Philippine government (GRP) fail, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said a “localized form” of peace talks might encourage greater participation from the New People’s Army’s (NPA) ground units.
“In light of the Left’s pronouncement that they would rather oust the President than talk peace, we have no choice but to push for localized peace talks because decisions and agreements will be more genuine and enforceable,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Monday.
Año said they are not giving up on peace, whether in the local or national level, although he reminded parties that the talks would only progress if there is a sincere intent to pursue peace.
“We are not giving up on peace. We will pursue every avenue that we can utilize,” he said. “However, it will not be peace at all costs. Only sincere peace talks – whether national or on the local level – can produce real and lasting peace.”
DILG creating guidelines
According to Año, the DILG is in the process of creating guidelines for local government units (LGU) that would conduct peace talks with communist rebels.
However, he also noted that LGUs will not involve the insurgents in any part of governance during the discussions.
“A working group is now crafting the guidelines for LGUs in the conduct of localized peace talks. As soon as these are finalized, LGUs can already take the lead in engaging with local rebels in their respective areas for the sake of peace and development in the communities,” Año added.
Malacañang and the Department of National Defense have previously raised the possibility of a localized peace talks, after Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said they were withdrawing from the negotiations and would focus instead on ousting President Rodrigo Duterte.
Sison made the statement was after the president insisted on certain conditions for the resumption of peace talks, such as conducting the talks in the Philippines.
The communist leader opposed the plan, saying that such scenario will hold them hostage as President Duterte has control of government agencies. /vvp
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