VP Duterte wary of peace talks with communists | Inquirer News

VP Duterte wary of peace talks with communists

Sara Duterte calls criticisms vs secret fund lies; thanks backers

Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte. INQUIRER FILES

Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday appealed to President Marcos to reconsider a recent deal to have the government and the Communist rebels return to the negotiating table for peace talks, calling it an “agreement with the devil.”

In a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the founding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), Duterte urged Mr. Marcos to “negotiate for peace and reconciliation and pursue meaningful development efforts in the Philippines without capitulating to the enemies.”


She was referring to the recently signed Oslo Agreement between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Both agreed to come up with a framework to restart the peace talks that stalled under the term of her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte.


Duterte, however, did not find the agreement palatable, and said the granting of amnesty to rebels “was not the path to peace.”

No preconditions

Also on Monday, National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said the Philippine government (GPH) will be negotiating with the GPH Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) from a “position of strength” and without preconditions.

Speaking at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon news briefing on state television, Malaya said this is what the government intends with the “exploratory talks” for a new peace deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines, its political wing NDFP and paramilitary wing New People’s Army (NPA).

Malaya, quoting National Security Adviser Eduardo Año and Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. Carlito Galvez Jr., said the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP will be “starting from zero.”

“In other words, we can no longer return, as a precondition, to the [agreements] signed in the past peace negotiations,” he said.

The agreements include the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed in the past negotiations, as well as the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms that the NDFP panel had proposed in previous discussions.


“The government is negotiating with them [from] a position of strength, so to speak” he added. “The government is entering [these exploratory talks] with open arms, and will not agree to any condition. Everything is on the table, so to speak.”

Malaya said the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to “sustain the tempo” of its operations against the NPA now that its regional fronts have been supposedly weakened, while the NTF-Elcac continues its development work in areas liberated from the insurgents.

He said jailed insurgent leaders will remain behind bars unless they avail of the amnesty offered by the President and approved by Congress, while the terrorism tag on the CPP-NPA-NDFP will be maintained until a new peace deal is reached.

The GPH and NDFP panels last month issued a joint communique stating both sides are ready to come out with a framework that sets priorities for the peace negotiation with the aim of achieving relevant socioeconomic and political reforms toward a just and lasting peace.

‘A moral imperative’

President Marcos’ decision to reopen the peace talks with communist rebels is “more than just a political maneuver” but a “moral imperative” and a “bold move” toward the country’s healing and unity.

Speaker Martin Romualdez made the remarks on Monday, a day before two House committees were set to tackle four measures concurring with Mr. Marcos’ amnesty grants for ex-rebels.

“This negotiation is more than just a political maneuver; it is a moral imperative, a chance to mend the fissures that have long divided our nation. We are not just negotiating terms; we are weaving the fabric of a peaceful future for every Filipino,” Romualdez said.

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—With a report by Julie M. Aurelio INQ

TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front of the Philippines, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, New People's Army, peace talks revival, Sara Duterte

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