• Govt, communist rebels to restart peace talks soon

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    The Philippine government and communist rebels on Friday said formal negotiations to end a lengthy insurgency could restart shortly, though the rebels’ armed wing announced it was beefing up its guerrilla campaign.

    Peace talks regarding one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies, which have been on-and-off since the 1980s, may resume as early as the second half of January, Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison said in a video message on Facebook.

    Back-channel talks to “prepare the agenda” for formal negotiations have been ongoing since September and agreements on a ceasefire and social and economic reforms may be finished before President Benigno Aquino 3rd steps down in 2016, said Sison, who is in exile in the Netherlands.

    Teresita Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, did not give a timeline for the negotiations, but told Agence France-Presse that Sison’s remarks were “very positive” and indicated that common ground between the two sides was “broadening.”

    “Friends of the peace process have been shuttling between the two parties to explore possible parameters for restarting talks at the earliest time possible,” Deles said of the back-channel negotiations.

    “So far, feedback has been positive but there remain matters to be clarified in order to ensure that, if ever we do resume talks, it will not go the same way of an early, major impasse that had happened too often in the past,” she said.

    But the communists’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), marked the 46th anniversary of its founding on Friday with a call to intensify its guerrilla campaign.

    “(We) must seize and control the initiative by launching more frequent and sustained tactical offensives with occasional blows to the head of the enemy,” the group said in a statement.

    Running for almost half a century, the communist insurgency has claimed 30,000 lives, according to military estimates.

    The military declared a month-long ceasefire with the NPA for the Christmas holidays and Pope Francis’ scheduled visit in January. The rebels said they would observe a shorter truce.

    The NPA’s strength has dwindled to 4,000 fighters from a peak of more than 26,000 in the late 1980s, according to the military.

    Negotiations under Aquino faltered after the government turned down the rebels’ demands that their detained comrades be released.

    Separately, however, Aquino has succeeded in forging a peace deal with Muslim rebels.

    The agreement, signed in March, calls for the expansion of the autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao and the disarming of thousands of guerrilla fighters.

    AFP

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    2 Comments

    1. Kalokohan ang makipag-peace talks sa mga komunista. Ilang sibilyan na ba ang kanilang pinatay? Etong si joma ay akala mo may sinseridad sa kanyang pinagsasabi? Wala! Kung katiwalian ng gobyerno ang kanilang ipinaglalaban ay Bakst tahimik sila sa pagnanakaw ng mga Binays? Maganda ang buhay no joma sa Netherlands dahil suportado siya ng china at ng mga Binays na kapwa nila magnanakaw. The NPAs wanted a peace talk or truce so that they can campaign for Binay. For the manila times, if you delete this message, it only proves that you are pro-Binay and some of your columnists are paid by Binay. Where is your conscience when the money paid to you by Binay came from his ill gotten wealth – from the taxpayers’ money. Filipinos, let us all pray to The Lord to save the Philippines from the Binays.

    2. rosendo bagtas on

      kalokohan itong pinagsasabing PEACE TALKS na diumanoy gagawin sa pagitan ng pamahalaan at mga komunistang CPP. maliwanag na pakay ng naturan paguusap ay ang pagpapalakas at paghihigpit ng mga urban at rural mass base, legal at underground ng mga organisasyon nito, at pagpapalakas at abante ng kanilang ‘people’s war’. dahil dito, walang saysay ang paguusap na ito kung patuloy pa rin ang patayan, pambabraso, at panlokloko ng mga komunistang CPP-NPA sa taumbayang Pilipino. tulo pa rin ba si OPAPP sec. teresita quintos-deles? tila himbing na himbing siyang natutulog kung ang usapin ay patungkol sa CPP-NPA.