By Reynard Magtoto
LEGAZPI CITY – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel said it remains open to resume formal peace negotiations with the Rodrigo Duterte government. However, its regional front in Bicol reiterated that they will not engage in localized peace talks.
Reacting to Duterte’s statement Friday he still has to talk to the New People’s Army (NPA), NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili told Kodao the revolutionary movement is also open to reviving formal talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
In a statement, Ma. Roja Banua, spokesperson of NDF Bicol, said that the AFP and the US-Duterte regime are dreaming that the CPP-NPA-NDFP is open to localized peace talks amid their blatant human rights abuses.
The NPA is an allied organization of the NDFP. “As long as their triple war ties with neoliberal economic policies, tactical offensives will continue to rally across the region to charge them in their crimes against the people,” Banua stated.
Duterte hinted peace talks with the NDFP might soon be revived in a speech at Cagayan de Oro City’s Laguindingan International Airport Friday.
“Ideology ‘to. So I’m facing that. I have to talk to the NPA still,” Duterte said after ticking off a list of problems he said he is facing.
“The NDFP has always been open to continue with the fifth round of the formal talks, which he scuttled in May 2017,” Agcaoili said.
The Duterte GRP cancelled the fifth round of formal negotiations last May after failing to secure an open-ended bilateral ceasefire agreement with the NDFP.
The NDFP said the GRP demand was a precondition violating The Hague Joint Declaration that says cessation of hostilities shall come after social and economic as well as political and constitutional reforms agreements have already been agreed and signed by both parties.
Negotiators from both the NDFP and GRP said they are ready to sign agrarian reform and rural development agreements, including free distribution of at least one million hectares of land to poor farmers, when the fifth round of formal negotiations are finally held. (BaretangBikolnon.com/With reports from Raymund B. Villanueva)