NDF’s use of outdated ideas hampered peace talks – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The difficulty of holding talks with officials of The Netherlands-based National Democratic Front (NDF) has had a lot to do with the rebels’ use of outdated jargon, Malacañang said on Monday.
“What we have realized is that there seems to be no progress talking to the people in the Netherlands—talking to Joma (Jose Maria) Sison,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a Malacañang briefing, referring to the 74-year-old chief of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Lacierda said for instance that leaders of the NDF, the umbrella group for communist organizations, continued to use jargons that had become passé, such as “national industrialization” in talks with government officials.
“National industrialization? I mean, we’ve moved on. They seemed to have not moved on. So how does one talk in a present setting with people who are still in the 50s or in the 60s perspective?” he said.
Government chief negotiator Alex Padilla said on Sunday that the administration remained open to resuming talks with the NDF, but only if these were “time-bound” and agenda-bound without any preconditions.
NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, for his part, said that his panel would be willing to “move the talks forward” and had so informed Norwegian Ambassador Ture Lundh, who has been acting as facilitator in the negotiations.
Talks to end the Maoist insurgency have been going on and off for the past 25 years, but they “have gone nowhere,” Padilla said.
The rebels have proposed a “special track” after a “regular track” in the negotiations bogged down, he said.
Lacierda declined to comment when asked if the government preferred to talk with NDF leaders in Manila instead.
“I’d love to answer that but I would have to get the approval of Secretary Ging Deles first. I know the answer to that but let me ask if it’s something that they are at liberty to discuss,” he said. Deles is the presidential adviser on the peace process.
Meanwhile, the government would continue to carry out its anti-insurgency campaign, Lacierda said. “The Oplan Bayanihan continues. It is a plan to win the hearts and minds of the rebels in the mountains, in the rebel-infested areas.”
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