Deles: Govt open to talks with NPA

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Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles on Wednesday said the government remains open to holding peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) now that police personnel taken hostage by communist rebels have been released.

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“In releasing the captive policemen, the NPA announced that they had taken this action as a goodwill gesture to promote the peace negotiations. We welcome this message from the NPA,” Deles said in a statement.

“In the face of the difficult challenges that have confronted this particular peace table, the government has remained firm in its commitment to pursue a peaceful resolution to this long drawn-out armed conflict. We reiterate our openness and serious intent to pursue peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF on the basis of a time-bound and doable agenda,” she added.

On July 10, four personnel of the Philippine National Police were abducted by NPA rebels in Surigao del Norte. The four captives were released recently in a remote village in Kitcharao town in Agusan del Norte where a five-day ceasefire was declared to avoid clashes.

“The goodwill resulting from the successful release of the four police officers constitutes a potential building block for the resumption of peace negotiations between the two parties. This joint undertaking has shown that we can work together and resolve issues peacefully, starting with small, positive steps like this one. We invite the rebels to come to the table to find common solutions to our problems in peaceful dialogue,” Deles said.

The talks collapsed in February 2013 when the two panels failed to agree on the initial agenda of the negotiations. Government chief negotiator Alex Padilla had said there was a disconnect between the CPP members on the ground and the Utretch-based NDF members they are negotiating with.

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