MANILA, January 16, 2017 (PNA) — The government is ready to sign other agreements with the National Democratic Front (NDF) while discussion on contents and provisions of major substantive agenda is ongoing when peace talks resume in Rome, Italy this week.
Chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said the government is all set to sign a supplemental agreement on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which will include an expanded role of the Joint Monitoring Committee.
“We are prepared to sign other agreements while we are discussing contents and provisions of the major substantive agenda,” Bello said in a statement.
“And we are challenging the NDF to formalize the unilateral ceasefire with a bilateral ceasefire agreement to give our communities and combatants a more secure environment for the peace process,” he added.
The third round of talks will start on Thursday (January 19) and will end on January 25.
Bello said he is confident that the Rome talks will result in major breakthroughs.
He also said the panel will submit today to President Rodrigo Duterte the draft documents that will be tabled for discussion in Rome.
“We are all set and ready to engage the NDF in the discussion of all substantive agenda including supplemental agreements needed to proceed and arrive at a peaceful negotiated political settlement to end the armed conflict in the country,” he said.
The government panel will pay a courtesy call to the President in Malacañang tonight.
Among the documents to be submitted to the President are draft agreements and principles for the comprehensive agreement on socio-economic reforms (CASER), comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms, and comprehensive agreement on end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
“We are doing this in the spirit of true reconciliation and genuine quest for just and lasting peace,” he explained.
The main group of government delegation leaves for Rome Tuesday.
Peace negotiations with the NDF were resumed in August 2016 after more than five years of impasse following the election of President Duterte.
In the August round when the negotiations were reopened, both panels agreed to reaffirm all previous signed agreements and reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and release of NDF leaders and members.
In the second round also in Oslo, Norway, negotiators exchanged outlines and agreed to accelerate the negotiations.
The government is confident it can strike a peace deal with the communist-led NDF, which counts among its member organization the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. (Sammy F. Martin/PNA)