Gov't remains open in pursuing peace talks with NDF

August 24, 2009 9:45 am 

MANILA, Aug. 24 — Malacanang remains open in pursuing peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) as part of the government’s goal to achieve lasting peace in the country.

In a press briefing, Deputy Spokesperson Anthony Golez said the government panel remains committed to the peace process despite what he described as a “temporary setback” when the NDF suddenly demanded for the release of 14 jailed communist leaders.

NDF is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

Golez noted that according to Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Avelino Razon, Jr., the government will not drop the charges against the jailed communist leaders but will only suspend the charges to give way to the peace talks.

He explained the government panel cannot just decide on releasing the 14 jailed communist leaders as demanded by the NDF because the peace negotiators will abide by the legal processes.

“This is a temporary setback. But we have an end goal of getting back to the drawing board,” Golez said.

According to Golez, Razon is doing his best to tell the NDF to be more realistic in their demands in order for the peace process to move forward.

The government panel has lifted the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) that led to the release from detention of two of NDF’s consultants.

Talks between the GRP and NDF collapsed in 2005 after the United States and the European Union (EU) tagged NPA as a terrorist organization.

However, back-channeling efforts between the two parties have been conducted during the period when there was no peace talk. The back-channeling posted positive results after the two sides agreed to return to the negotiating table in Norway late this month. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/utb

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