• Palace welcomes resumption of talks with Reds

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    Malacañang has welcomed possible resumption of peace talks between the administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the communist insurgents.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said peace redounds to the benefit of all.

    “Peace building is beneficial to nation building. Efforts to achieve peace contribute to national well being,” Coloma told The Manila Times in a text message.

    Coloma issued the statement a day after incoming presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza and incoming Labor secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd left for Oslo, Norway, for an informal meeting with Communist Party of the Philippines/ National People’s Army/ National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) officials.

    Dureza, in a statement on Friday, said the informal meeting is on instructions of Duterte to pave the way for the early resumption of the long-stalled peace negotiations.

    “We look forward to a fruitful meeting under the auspices of the Norwegian government on the sidelines of the Oslo Forum,” he added.

    Dureza flew to Oslo in spite of fears expressed by the CPP-NDF that founder Jose Ma. Sison might be arrested should he decide to come home for the resumption of the peace talks.

    Duterte offered Sison a consultancy post in his administration. He has also appointed a number of leftist personalities to his Cabinet, such as Judy Taguiwalo as Social Welfare and Development secretary and Rafael Mariano as Agrarian Reform secretary.

    The President-elect expressed hope that such confidence building measures will lead to a peace agreement between the government and the Left soon.

    Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles, meanwhile, is hoping that the Duterte administration will continue the fight for peace in Mindanao.

    Deles highlighted the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process under the Aquino government during the launch of the book titled “Junctures” in Malacañang on Thursday.

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