Govt, Reds closer to bilateral truce


    HOPES that peace talks between the Philippine government and the communist rebels will bear fruit were rekindled with a declaration by the National Democratic Front (NDF) that it is willing to sign a formal bilateral ceasefire agreement despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s obstinate refusal to release political prisoners.

    Government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello 3rd welcomed the statement of NDF adviser Luis Jalandoni that they are willing to sign an agreement but that it will only take effect upon the release of political prisoners.

    “We are willing to sign it, but of course he [Duterte] has to make a commitment and he has to implement it,” Jalandoni said in a television interview.

    “The NDF is willing to sign a bilateral ceasefire, but Duterte has to release all political prisoners within 48 hours,” he added.

    Bello said Jalandoni’s statement bodes well for the peace efforts.

    “The willingness of the NDF to sign the bilateral ceasefire agreement is indeed a welcome development as this bodes well for a positive atmosphere when we meet again for the third round of talks in January,” he noted in a statement.

    “A bilateral ceasefire would not only benefit the combatants but the people who are caught in the crossfire of this armed conflict,” the government chief negotiator said.

    Bello described the communist rebels’ willingness to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government as a Christmas gift.

    “Forging a bilateral ceasefire agreement is the best gift the government and the NDF can give to the Filipino people this holiday season. May this lead to the permanent end of hostilities for the new year leading to a just and lasting peace,” he said.

    Jalandoni, during an International Human Rights Day protest at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila last week, said they are willing to sign the agreement but they will also insist on the release of the political prisoners.
    Bello said the government panel “recognizes the NDF’s efforts to work with us to attain peace.”

    “Its declaration of an indefinite unilateral ceasefire in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration in August is unprecedented and historic. Agreeing to a bilateral ceasefire is another milestone in the peace process,” he added.

    The NDF had demanded the release of 400 political prisoners, but Duterte had repeatedly rejected this demand, saying he had given “too much, too soon.”

    “I cannot give you that. I’m sorry but I have already conceded so much on the side of the government,” the President said.

    “I have conceded to the communists too much too soon. As yet, I have yet to see a substantive progress in the talks. They are asking for 130 detainees to be released… Sorry, I cannot do that,” he added.

    Duterte said he will release the political prisoners if the NDF will agree to a bilateral ceasefire.

    The Communist Party of the Philippines had threatened to revoke the unilateral ceasefire it earlier declared if the political prisoners are not released.

    But Bello said despite the challenges, “we continue to struggle to make peace happen for the country and the Filipino people.”

    “Rest assured that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte remains committed to the release of a substantial number of political prisoners. The President has already shown time and again that he delivers on his word,” he added.


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    1. Of course not everyone who have private properties got it legitimately. I am certainly not defending those people. Who are these crooks? Well, we certainly know them. The biggest one are the Marcos Family. Thus family alone stole at a minimum $15Billion USD from the Filipino people. That is equivalent to P1,000,000,000,000.00 or 1Trillion pesos. That is enough money to give every man, woman and child, every police office, every Lolo and Lola, every teacher and fireman in the Philippines P1,000,000.00 each. That is how much they stole from each of us. There are 100 million people officially in the Philippines so divide the loot among the total population and each one gets a million pesos. This is the money that they continue to enjoy and spend and pay for their political agenda. Why do they want back into government? To ensure that the money stays with them. They even own the SM chain of stores

    2. All these people want are freebies, like free land because they do not want to pay or work for the land. Most people who have private property worked for those lands, either by buying it or by inheritance. These commies or landless people can do the same thing, buy it or work for it. No, they want it for free. They believe that all lands belong to everyone, that all lands in this country belong to everyone and there is no such thing as private property. They do not believe in work. So they instead go for armed conflict to get what they want. They are nothing but thieves pretending to be something else.

    3. Once these prisoners are out of the cage, what will ensure that the commies stay committed to that agreement? They can start an incident like a firefight and say the government started it and break off from the agreement but by then all the prisoners they wanted released have already been freed. We will be left with nothing. The Commies got it all!