No preconditions in new talks with rebels – gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — There are no preconditions and no ceasefire set in the exploratory talks between the government and the communist rebels, an official of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru) said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing, Opapru Presidential Assistant Wilben Mayor said that the exploratory talks of the the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) is a new peace process and not a resumption of the previous talks.
“The talks are new, no preconditions. We are not referring to anything previously discussed before. This is new, it’s not what’s called resumption of talks, it’s new. All details, what must be discussed, will be done so in the next meeting,” Mayor said.
Mayor, a former police general who now heads Opapru’s Office for Local Conflict Transformation and Peace Sustainability, clarified that anti-insurgency operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the maintenance of peace and order by the Philippine National Police will continue amid exploratory talks.
“Every agency of the government will continue what they must do, there’s no stopping here, and like I said a while ago, this is a new discussion, a new dialogue, no precondition and we begin in a new negotiation,” he added.
Last month, the Philippine government and the CCP-NPA-NDF panels issued a statement in Oslo, Norway, agreeing to a principled and peaceful resolution of armed conflict as well as the ending of the armed struggles and the transformation of the former rebels who wanted to return to the folds of the law.
Mayor also called for public support to the exploratory talks, saying the administration has a pure intention when the government signed the joint agreement and joint communiqué. He said the administration is not discrediting the efforts of the previous leadership as he stressed that the present government signed the joint agreement and joint communiqué without any precondition.
Mayor also credited the AFP and the PNP for their collective hard work and sacrifices to come up with the agreement with the CCP-NPA-NDF, which aims to only promote an everlasting peace and order for the Filipino people in the Philippines.
“What our President aims for is to continue the peace process and he desires genuine and long-lasting peace for the progress of a new Philippines,” he added.
Mayor said a peace agreement between the government and rebels will revitalize the economy in, and bring prosperity to, the areas affected by the insurgency.
He cited the recent peace pact with Muslim separatists in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which he said, resulted in the drop of poverty incidence from 61.7 percent to around 37 percent.