‘Historic’ release of NDFP peace consultants hailed
The temporary liberty granted to consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was “historic” in the resumption peace talks between the government and communist rebels in Oslo, Norway next week, a militant group said on Thursday.
“We welcome the recent releases of several political prisoners, particularly the NDFP peace consultants, in line with the resumption of formal peace talks. In terms of number and significance, the releases are historic as far as peace talks are concerned,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement.
In a meeting with NDFP lawyers at Malacañang, President Rodrigo Duterte assured that all NDFP consultants will be present in the peace negotiations next week as he instructed concerned government agencies to process their papers so they can travel to Oslo in time for the talks on Aug. 22.
This was after consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Ariel Arbitrario, Proferio Tuna, Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jasminez and Ernesto Lorenzo were allowed to post bail.
Bayan said the government’s move to withdraw objections to the bail petitions of 18 NDFP consultants showed “goodwill on the part of the Duterte administration.”
“The president continues to demonstrate that he is willing to do more for the peace talks with the NDFP than his predecessors Aquino and Arroyo. The releases mark one of the most positive developments in the talks during the last 15 years,” the statement added.
Reyes expressed optimism that the consultants’ release will be a “formidable addition” to the peace talks “as they can draw from their rich experience in advancing the national and democratic interests of the people.”
“The releases raise hopes that the formal peace talks on August 22 would begin on a positive note and that new agreements beneficial to the people will be forged… We wish both panels the best as they hammer out new agreements on socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms which will be the basis for ending the armed conflict in the country,” he said. IDL
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