Final peace pact with Reds eyed by year-end


CLARK AIR BASE, PAMPANGA: President Rodrigo Duterte expects to end decades of insurgency with the signing of a final peace agreement with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) by the end of the year.

“We hope we will have a firm agreement by the end of the year if Sison would come home,” Duterte said Tuesday, referring to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

The president said he is ready to give “a safe conduct pass” to Sison and top communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma.

Benito is the chairman of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, while Wilma is the secretary general. They were arrested in Cebu in March 2014 for alleged murder, multiple murders, and frustrated murders.

Duterte earlier sent his presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza to Oslo, Norway, to begin exploratory talks with Sison and the group’s chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni.

But Duterte said he is not ready to release all political prisoners.

“I am not ready to release everybody. Only after the success of the talks–if there’s one coming our way, bago ko sila i-release all, then we can grant amnesty but they have to lay down their arms,” he said.

Duterte also said he is willing to continue talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“Maybe we’ll go to Jolo and talk to him before we formally agree to talk officially,” Duterte said, referring to MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari.

“I have my team already. I would not mention them now but they are ready sa government side,” he added.


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