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Jalandoni sees Duterte’s stand on peace talks can still change

Luis Jalandoni, former chief peace negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. (AFP FILE PHOTO / NOEL CELIS)

LUCENA CITY—Former National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni believed that President Rodrigo Duterte’s cancelation of peace talks is not yet final and can still change based from his experience with past presidents.

“(In) my past experiences, there remains the possibility that the position of the President can change,” Jalandoni said in an online interview.

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He recalled that during the time of former President Joseph Estrada, “at the last moment, a month before he was deposed, sent an emissary wanting peace talks and offering releases of political prisoners in December 2000, but too late.”

Also under Estrada, Jalandoni said that after the movie actor-turned president and now Manila mayor terminated the talks on May 31, 1999 “through a written notice, because he reacted to the NDFP condemnation of his approval of the VFA, he tried too late to resume talks.”

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“Under GMA, informal talks were still held in 2006 and 2007 to try to find a way for resumption, but these did not succeed,” Jalandoni remembered.

“So, there is the possibility for resuming talks even with Duterte,” Jalandoni said.

READ: Dureza: Gov’t cancels peace talks with Reds

“But he must bear the responsibility before the people for scuttling the peace talks at a time when unprecedented significant advances are in the process of being achieved,” he said.

However, Jalandoni blasted Duterte for sabotaging the gains of the peace talks with his cancelation of future negotiations with the NDFP.

Jalandoni, NDFP senior adviser, said the NDFP has declared that “the crazed tyrant Duterte has to answer to the many millions of peasants and fisherfolk who are yearning for genuine land reform, free
distribution of land, free irrigation, credit etc., (which had already agreed upon and initialed by both bilateral teams).”

Jalandoni noted that the past peace negotiations have already achieved advances on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD), National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) through very hard work of bilateral teams of both parties under the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms.

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“Na-inital na ang common drafts on ARRD and NIED. And these were to be finalized at the next round,” he stressed.

He added: “The longing of the people for a just and lasting peace (was) abruptly torpedoed by the saboteur of peace talks, the tyrant Duterte.”

When asked if the CPP-NPA will still declare the traditional Yuletide truce, Jalandoni replied: “The prime concern of the NDFP is the good, welfare and cultural concerns of the people. Because of this, judging
from previous experience, there remains the possibility of an NDFP declared ceasefire for the sake of the people.” /jpv

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TAGS: Arroyo, Estrada, Jalandoni, NDF, Peace Talks, VFA
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