GRP panels to give updates on peace process

December 9, 2010 4:12 am 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Dec. 8 -– The government panels will give updates on the peace process between the government and two rebel groups -– the communists and Muslim insurgents — during the Communications and News Exchange Forum slated on Friday at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Quezon City.

The forum will from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Undersecretary Alexander Padilla, chairman of the government peace panel, is expected to give more details about the upcoming revival of formal peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) in Norway in February 2011.

Norway has been agreed as the third party facilitator. Padilla went to Hong Kong where he held informal dialogue with Luis Jalandoni, NDF chair, on Dec. 1-2.

It was during the dialogue which Padilla described as “free-wheeling” that the NDF agreed to resume the stalled peace talks after five years in the back-burner.

The NDF pulled out from the talks in August 2005 after the United States tagged the NPA, the CPP’s armed wing, as a terrorist organization.

However, during the interim period, communication lines were left open as the two sides held back-channeling talks.

The previous Arroyo administration tried to revive the talks but failed as the NDF hierarchy apparently chose to wait for the new government under President Benigno C. Aquino III to assume the presidency.

President Aquino was sworn in on June 30, 2010. Ms. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, a government peace panel, will give an update on the latest status of the peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.

Ferrer will represent Dean Marvic Leonen, chairman of the government peace panel, tasked to negotiate with the MILF.

The talks reopened in December 2009 after the negotiations collapsed in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

Fighting flared up between government forces and MILF rebels in some parts of Central Mindanao, displacing 500,000 people.

However, hostilities had stopped as both sides agreed to resume the negotiations.

The resumption of the talks will be the first under the Aquino government.

Meanwhile, Polly Cunanan, director of communications of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), will give an overview of OPAPP’s new strategy on the peace process. (PNA)

DCT/RBC/mec

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