PH gov’t, NDFP agree to resume talks in July
MANILA, Philippines — Incoming officials of the Duterte administration and the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will resume formal peace talks in the third week of July, the two sides have agreed in Oslo.
At the conclusion of the two-day exploratory talks, members of the government peace panel and the NDFP signed a statement agreeing to discuss the acceleration of negotiations and the grant of amnesty and release of all detained political prisoners, “subject to concurrence by Congress.”
Held even before Duterte formally assumed the Presidency, the talks were readily arranged on the heels of the incoming official’s directive to pursue peace with the NDFP.
In the joint statement, received by the Philippine Daily Inquirer minutes after it was signed in Oslo past 12 a.m. on Thursday (June 16) Manila time (June 15 in Norway), the two panels also agreed to discuss a “mode of interim ceasefire” during the talks, and the reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees list (JASIG), which has provided protection to negotiators, consultants, staffers and other individuals involved in the talks.
Under the agreement, the government panel said it “will recommend” to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte the following:
* “The immediate release of NDFP consultants and other JASIG protected persons in accordance with the JASIG to enable them to participate in the negotiations”;
* “Immediate release of prisoners/detainees based on humanitarian grounds”;
Duterte’s appointees — incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza, incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and incoming government panel member Hernani Braganza — signed on behalf of the administration-in-waiting.
NDFP Panel chair Luis Jalandoni, member Fidel Agcaoili and chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison signed the joint statement on behalf of the NDFP. SFM
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