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11月23日のまにら新聞から

Chief negotiator admits 3 tough issues to be resolved to forge bilateral truce with NDF

[ 411 words|2016.11.23|英字 ]

The chief negotiator of the government’s peace panel with the National Democratic Front (NDF) admitted on Tuesday at least three more "difficult" and "bloody" issues are being addressed before a bilateral truce with the communist rebels is forged.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government peace panel is trying to work out a consensus on these issues with its counterpart from the NDF, with the hope to sign a bilateral ceasefire on December 10.

Terms and conditions that need to be addressed include the issue of what is a "hostile act," specifically the "revolutionary tax" being collected by the New People's Army (NPA); what is considered as battle zone; and who will be the monitoring team on the implementation and compliance with the truce, he said.

"That is why although we were hoping that we would be signing the joint bilateral ceasefire on a very symbolic day and that is December 10, this is International Humanitarian Day...there was no consensus yet that's why we might not attain the December 10 (target)," Bello said.

"But we are still, we are not giving up that by December 10 there will be a signing of the joint bilateral permanent ceasefire...permanent ceasefire which will eventually lead to the cessation of hostilities," he stressed.

Bello believes the controversial burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes cemetery will not affect the peace process, calling it “extraneous matters.”

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing Marcos’ burial, saying Duterte showed” gross disrespect and insensitivity”.

Bello said allowing Marcos’ burial was a “judicial decision of the Supreme Court.”:

The government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-NDF have declared their respective indefinite ceasefire in August following the first round of formal peace talks under the Duterte administration.

If a truce cannot be done by December 10, Bello said he and NDF peace panel head Fidel Agcaoili had "a gentleman's agreement that we may make some announcement regarding the unilateral ceasefire. Because if you recall, the unilateral ceasefire declared by them is indefinite."

He said they reached the gentleman's agreement when he and Agcaoili chanced upon each other last Friday in Cebu airport. Bello said they agreed to reiterate the policy "for the comfort of our people."

Bello said it is "very possible" that President Rodrigo Duterte may grant pardons to some "40 to 50" political detainees who are elderly, sickly and women. Celerina Monte/DMS