Duterte reiterates conditions as opening of PH, NDF peace talks delayed
President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Sunday that discussions of the government peace panel with its communist counterpart on a bilateral ceasefire deal should be confined within the four conditions he earlier set as they face each other again in the fourth round of talks in the Netherlands.
In an interview in Cagayan de Oro, the Chief Executive said he talked with government negotiators led by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary and peace panel head Silvestre Bello III giving his directives.
“They asked for guidance…my objections are contained in the four conditionalities that I just said,” he said.
The conditions set by Duterte for the bilateral truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front are the following: that there should be a clear parameter or terms of reference for the ceasefire; the government shall not recognize any territorial claims of the rebels; that the leftist group should cease the collection of revolutionary tax and the conduct of extortion and extraction and arson; and it shall release all prisoners.
There was a report from Noordwijk in the Netherlands that the opening of the fourth round of peace talks was delayed due to Duterte’s call.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, in a text message, however, was quick to say that the “delay was not due to President.”
He said the two panels were still doing back channel meetings for the schedule of the talks.
The NDF reported that the fourth round of formal peace negotiations have been moved to April 3. Celerina Monte/DMS