PRESIDENTIAL Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza returned to Manila on Monday after the resumption of talks with communist rebels, announcing that Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison has been removed from the European Union listing of terrorists.
But the CPP, its armed wing the New People’s Army, and political arm the National Democratic Front (NDF) remain classified by the EU as a terrorist group, he said.
Nonetheless, Dureza is confident both sides will achieve peace given a “high level of confidence.”
“In a peace process, every agreement is a foundation. It is a brick on a building that one must build from. Just like lovers, you have to build on that relationship, trust, and it takes time,” Dureza said in a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Dureza, along with Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan, arrived from the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway aboard a Thai Airways flight.
Pamintuan, who is a government peace panel adviser, said Sison expressed a desire to conclude the negotiations in six months.
But the government expects the process to take eight months, he said.
Dureza cautioned that the peace process would have bumps along the way and there would be a lot of “sensitive issues.”
The negotiating panels of the Philippine government and the NDF reached agreements on six major items, he recalled.
These are: reaffirmation of previous agreements, reconstitution of the list of NDF members covered by safe passes under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, acceleration of peace negotiations, release of NDF consultants, a government amnesty proclamation for prisoners listed by the NDF, and an indefinite ceasefire.
Both parties agreed to resume talks on October 8 to 12 in Oslo.
The government panel is looking toward a final peace agreement with the NDF to end almost half a century of armed hostilities in the Philippine countryside.