Dureza: We can’t just spring them out of jail
The government has not made any specific commitment to release detained Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) guerrillas expected to take part in upcoming peace talks, but has agreed to “facilitate the availability” of rebel negotiators, the government’s top peace adviser said Thursday.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said formal talks with the CPP’s political National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) were to take place in Oslo, Norway on Aug. 20.
“We have to comply with the legal processes. We can’t just spring them out of jail,” Dureza said at a Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines forum, adding that the talks were originally scheduled in July but has been moved “to make it possible their (NDFP’s) members are available.”
Dureza said that during preliminary talks in Oslo last month, both sides basically agreed to “get the peace process (moving) forward.”
The CPP, he said, had requested that some of its negotiators be released, and in response the government agreed to “work out arrangements to make them available” as provided under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which was previously signed by the parties.
Meanwhile Dureza said that President Duterte early this month approved the “Bangsamoro Peace and Development Roadmap” which was presented to the National Security Council on Wednesday.
“The President already approved and we are now moving very quickly, traversing this road. This road is not paved well. There will be bumps and humps along the way, I assure you. But we have the direction to take as we move forward using the directions that the president approved,” he said.
Dureza pointed out that he presented the roadmap to his counterpart at the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who issued a “positive response.”
He said the government was “committed to implement all signed agreements” with rebel groups, including the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF. Congress last year failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the final piece of the puzzle that would have granted the MILF an expanded autonomy in the south following a deadly clash that left 44 police commandos dead.
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