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Overseas NDFP leaders cancel trip to PH

LUCENA CITY – The top leaders of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have abandoned their plan to return home to work for the possible resumption of the peace talks.

“I’m not going there (Philippines) anymore,” Fidel Agcaoili, chair of NDFP negotiating panel, said in an online interview from his base in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Monday morning.

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He said this even when he was reminded that the government was already preparing for an “informal meeting” this week between the NDFP and Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo as ordered by President Duterte.

Earlier, Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison disclosed to the Inquirer that Agcaoili has received a “latest advice from Bebot Bello” (Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III and head of the government peace panel) not to proceed with the plan of returning to the country.

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“Ngayong araw lang na pinagsabihan si Fidel na huwag na siyang umuwi. (It was only today that Fidel was told not to go home). Latest advice from Bebot Bello,” Sison said in a separate online interview.

Sison, like the rest of NDFP leaders, also resides in Utrecht.

Agcaoili confirmed Sison’s information that Bello called him over the phone.

When asked for the details of the supposed advisory from Bello, Agcaoili said: “Only that the appointment with the President (Duterte) has been canceled and that it would be fruitless if we were to talk with each other without new perspective.”

Sison suspected that President Duterte was behind Bello’s advisory to Agcaoili.

“It is most likely from Duterte. It is against his scheme of fascist dictatorship and nationwide martial law to entertain any suggestion of resuming peace negotiations,” Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, asserted.

Last week, the NDFP announced that Agcaoili, Luis Jalandoni, former NDFP head and now serving as senior adviser to the NDFP peace negotiation panel, Coni Ledesma, Jalandonoi’s spouse, and also a member of the NDFP peace panel, would return to the country this month.

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The three will be coming in connection with their work as members of the NDFP component in the joint monitoring committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, CPP, Fidel Agcaoili, Jesus Dureza, National Democratic Front of the Philippines, NDFP, Peace Talks, Salvador Panelo, Silvestre Bello III
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