NDFP welcomes Congress resolution calling for resumption of peace talks
DAVAO CITY – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) lauded Congress for calling for the resumption of formal peace negotiations to end four decades of communist insurgency in the country.
Fidel Agcaoili, chairperson of the NDFP peace panel, said in a statement on Friday that the revolutionary group welcomed the passing of House Resolution 1803 by the House Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, urging the government and the NDFP to return to the negotiating table.
“The resolution is a positive move by the committee members and contributes to calls of various other sectors and groups to continue the peace negotiations,” Agcaoili said.
Agcaoili commented that efforts in Congress could help President Duterte appreciate the peace process.
“We hope this welcome move by the House Special Committee can encourage President Duterte to go back to the negotiating table and work towards a just and lasting peace,” Agcaoili said.
The NDFP asserted that Duterte decided to unilaterally terminate the talks in November 2017 despite “significant advancements in the negotiations.”
The gains, Agcaoili added, include tentative agreements on the specific sections on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms.
These sections, considered the heart of the peace process, cover agrarian reform, rural development and economic development.
A backchannel meeting between the two parties in June this year produced a stand down agreement and the Guidelines and Procedures Towards an Interim Peace Agreement.
But these were scrapped after Duterte took a three-month break from the negotiations to review previously-signed agreements.
Despite the setbacks and escalation of hostilities, Agcaoili said the NDF was still willing to negotiate should Duterte decide to return to the negotiating table.
“The NDFP is always open to the resumption of peace negotiations in accordance with all signed agreements such as The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, without preconditions,” Agcaoili said.
Duterte is pushing for localized peace talks, which the NDF criticized, explaining that the substantive agenda covered by the negotiations were beyond the limits of local governments.
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