Preconditions make it difficult to resume talks with NDF–Deles
The government has been looking for ways to restart peace talks with the communist rebels “on the basis of a timebound and doable agenda,” according to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.
But “it is difficult to start (peace talks) with preconditions,” Deles told the Inquirer on Monday.
Deles was referring to remarks made by Luis Jalandoni, chair of the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel, that the NDF’s return to the negotiating table depended on the release of NDF consultants and political prisoners held in jails across the country on criminal charges.
Deles said it was “premature to talk about prisoner releases without a full appreciation of the context and parameters of the talks now being proposed.”
“What is more important to consider is where the talks will go,” she said.
Meeting with Belmonte
But Deles said she was “look[ing] forward to meeting with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. after his return to Manila for a discussion of what he talked about with Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and Jalandoni at a dinner in Amsterdam last week.
Jalandoni shared Belmonte’s optimism about their three-and-a-half hour meeting in Amsterdam, calling it a “bridge-building.”
“The bridge-building that occurred in the dialogue with Speaker Belmonte and his colleagues a few days ago has improved the atmosphere for the possible resumption of peace talks between the Aquino government and the NDF,” Jalandoni said.
Quoting Sison, who is also an NDF consultant, Jalandoni said the rebel peace panel was willing to begin negotiating a peace agreement, and finish it before the end of President Aquino’s term in June 2016.
“With the signing of such an agreement (we’ll) see if a truce and cooperation are possible,” Jalandoni said.
Belmonte said the meeting with the NDF officials was “more like a confidence-building measure.”
Belmonte and several other government officials are in The Hague in The Netherlands observing the oral arguments on the government’s petition at a United Nations arbitral tribunal against China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
Sison and other top communist rebel leaders are based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.