DAVAO CITY (PNA) — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has asked his incoming peace negotiators Lawyers Jesus Dureza and Silvestre Bello III to travel to Oslo, Norway in July to hold preliminary talks with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding Chair Jose Maria Sison to discuss the framework agenda of the peace negotiations.
He said he will issue safe conduct passes to Sison and couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the chair and finance chief of the CPP, respectively, to pave the way for their participation to the peace negotiations.
Duterte said Dureza and Bello should also accompany Sison for his homecoming anytime. The preliminary talks with Sison will be the priority he wants Dureza and Bello to work as soon as he sits President in July.
He said that he would even release the political prisoners even before they can hammer a perfect peace deal.
Earlier, Duterte said coming home for the negotiations will be his only pre-condition otherwise â€œhow can we talk peace if they are not here.â€ He said they can agree on when, where and how the process of their coming home, including CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison, and how to conduct the talks. The time frame would depend how events would develop.
â€œKailangan ko lang yes or no (All I need is yes or no),â€ said Duterte, adding that the release of prisoners is part of confidence-building between the two sides.
It may be recalled that the formal peace negotiations with the communist movement was stalled in 2004 after the NDF withdrew from the negotiating table on account of the renewed inclusion of Sison and his organization in the US terrorist list.
In the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the government conducted several rounds of informal talks through the facilitation of the Royal Norwegian Government as an attempt to revive the negotiations. RNG served as Third Party Facilitator for the talks since 2001.
Yet, since then, there has been little progress. OPAPP said the talks were â€œstymied by prejudicial questions, impediments and preconditionsâ€ raised at the negotiating table.
The NDF also backtracked from its commitment and insisted on its â€œunreasonable demand that government release their 14 consultants (all facing criminal charges in various courts in the Philippines), before formal negotiations are resumed.â€ (PNA)