Gov’t, NDF to resume talks Aug. 20-27 – Braganza
DAVAO CITY – The resumption of formal negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front will be moved to the August 20-to-27 period, according to a government peace panel member.
But the postponement has been a matter of getting the more convenient dates and ironing out details of the different agenda in the talks, government negotiator Hernani Braganza said.
Braganza, who has worked in the process for years, explained to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that these dates have been deemed the most favorable for all parties, including the Norwegian facilitator.
The original date, as agreed upon after the preliminary talks in Oslo, was the third week of July.
The National Democratic Front is representing the Communist Party of the Philippines and its rebel army, the New People’s Army, in the peace talks.
Braganza said that the government would like to look at all the issues and details in the peace process to ensure that these would not resurface as obstructions or complicating factors in the future.
One of the details being threshed out is the proposed release of detained NDF consultants so that they can freely participate in the peace process.
“Mas maganda sa umpisa magkakasama na kami (It would be good if at the outset, we would be united on certain issues and on the same page),” Braganza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone Tuesday.
He also explained there have been many “firsts” in the resumption of the talks and the government would like to ensure smooth proceedings in the future.
Braganza said that for one, the front-loading of a possible ceasefire in the joint statement has been a rare opportunity.
“We have to consult local governments and security forces to avoid possible irritants in the future,” Braganza said.
And to make the talks under the Duterte government more exciting and productive than those in the previous administrations, the three remaining substantive agenda — social economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces — will be tackled simultaneously.
The original format of the process was sequential but both parties agreed to accelerate the negotiations to resolve the conflict.
“Sabay sabay yan pag-uusapan, at with a ceasefire pa (These issues will be tackled simultaneously and with a ceasefire in place),” Braganza said.
Braganza expressed hope that everyone involved in the government should see and appreciate these positive developments in the revived talks.
“To be fair, both sides are … determined to produce good results from the process,” Braganza said. SFM/rga
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