Sunday , June 24, 2018

Government, Reds ink interim joint ceasefire

THE Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) sealed an interim joint ceasefire deal on Wednesday, April 5, a day before the conclusion of fourth round of peace talks.

The two parties signed the interim bilateral truce agreement in Noordwijk, Netherlands on Wednesday evening.

"The ceasefire takes effect as soon as the guidelines and ground rules are approved," the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (Opapp) said in a statement.

The Opapp said the agreement on bilateral ceasefire was hammered out following marathon conversations of both panels.

"Matters regarding a single government authority and taxation shall be discussed and resolved in forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms within the framework of the proposed Federal Republic of the Philippines," the agreement said.

"The Joint Ceasefire Agreement shall be deemed interim until a permanent ceasefire is forged pursuant to a Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces," it added.

The Opapp said the guidelines of the interim ceasefire agreement would cover the presence of armed groups in local communities; creation of buffer zones; prohibited hostile and provocative acts, including the collection of revolutionary taxes; and undertaking of joint socioeconomic projects.

Both parties also mulled to create a joint ceasefire committee and the prospective role of a third party in a ceasefire monitoring and other mechanisms in the implementation of the armistice, including the handling of complaints and alleged violations.

The government peace panel and the communist leaders also agreed to conclude provisions on a draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms “meant to address the root causes of the armed conflict.”

Government chief peace negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and panel members Hernani Barganza, Angela Trinidad, Rene Sarmiento and Antonio Arellano signed the deal.

NDF chair Fidel Agcaoili and panel members Benito Tiamzon, Coni Ledesma, Julieta de Lima, and Asterio Palima also signed on behalf of the communist group.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison, panel adviser Eduardo Pamintuan and Luis Jalandoni signed as observers.