Duterte wants more public consultation on peace talks: Dureza
By Lilian Mellejor
DAVAO CITY (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the government peace panel to further engage the public to draw more support for the peace negotiations with the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
This was bared by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Jesus Dureza on Thursday.
Dureza said the government decided to reset the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDF that was supposedly to take place on June 28. Both parties had also agreed earlier to declare a ceasefire on June 21.
However, Dureza said the June 21 and June 28 schedules will no longer take place.
In a statement on Thursday, Dureza, said the decision of the President was relayed during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting in order to achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace.
He said the NDF side, the members of the back channel team, and the Norwegian facilitators have been informed of the decision to reset the talks.
“President Rodrigo Duterte instructed us last night to engage our bigger “peace table” – the general public as well as other sectors in government as we work to negotiate peace with the communist rebels,” Dureza said.
Dureza explained that the success of the peace negotiations with the NDF will depend on whether it has broad support of the general public.
“It is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform first and engage them in the same way as the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict,” he said.
For instance, Dureza cited the ongoing public dialogues and consultations on the peacetalks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), specifically on the issue of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“The government peace panel in cooperation with the private sector will continue on its efforts to engage those who earnestly seek peace,” Dureza assured.
Dureza underscored the importance of engaging all stakeholders through public consultations to ensure that all the consensus points and agreements forged in the negotiations table will have strong support from the Filipino people.
“Hindi pwedeng we only engage the other table which is the rebel group and then ignore the bigger table. Kung hindi suportado ng publiko walang mangyayari (It should not be that we only engage the other table which is the rebel group and then ignore the bigger table. If it is not supported by the public nothing will happen),” Dureza said in a press briefing in Malacanang aired on PTV.
“We have to go and listen to the public,” he added. The presidential peace adviser also emphasized on the urgent need to take deliberate steps to ensure that the government will not falter.
“Just, sustainable and lasting peace will happen only when our people understand and support these efforts,” he pointed out.
Before the talks were suspended, the GRP panel was already conducting consultations and town hall briefings with the youth, members of the police and the military and other organizations.
To recall, the GRP–NDF peace panels reached the fourth round of talks since the resumption of the negotiations in 2016.
Duterte suspended the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), seeing no clear indications of enabling environment to continue with the talks.
Duterte was firm he would not continue talks with the communist revolutionaries until fighting will stop or the NPA stops collecting revolutionary taxes. (PNA)