PRESIDENTIAL Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said on Friday that their agency will not support localized peace talks.
Dureza, in a press conference yesterday, bared that localized peace talks are "localized" meaning they will not deal with the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines /New People's Army/ National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).
"We will not get involved in the localized peace talks and we are dealing with the leadership and localized peace talks maybe viewed as something that is pulling the cards under their feet, di ba, so we are not going to be involved," he said.
He added that even with the surenderers, Oppap will not deal with them.
"Even surenderers, we have gotten a lot emails of people from CPP/NPA/NDF who wanted to come down and come back to the normal life, we don't handle them as far as Oppap is concerned because we would like to continue the trust level or the confidence level needed for us to continue dealing with their leadership," he said.
Dureza also said that from their end they will not also suggest formation of local peace panels in different local government units.
"Definitely not, what face do I have in facing the different (leaders) in our negotiations like I am the one also trying to undermine them by localized peace talks. Let the locals handle it," he said.
He also said that apart from Davao City, other local government units like those in Samar have been suggesting that they like to do the localized peace talks.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio already signed an executive order for the creation of a committee that will push for the talks.
"Localized peace talks, they are localized because they will not deal with the leadership of CPP/NPA/NDF. It is our panel on the national level that deal with them. The local officials are saying now that they can better deal with their local NPA commanders because they know where they are, they know what their needs are and they can also provide assistance that is needed and they can also provide the assistance that perhaps are needed that is why it has also become something that the local government are doing now," he said.
Dureza said that the peace talks are still cancelled, but the Oppap is still looking for ways and means on how we can move forward with the talks but they take guidance from the president.
"The President said that the talk is cancelled but that does not mean we are stopping. No, we are not, because the president earlier said that we are going to resume talks only if there is a conducive enabling environment conducive to peace negotiations. We have to look at what is happening outside on our side of the government and on the other side of the table, what we are doing together before we will determine whether it is timely," he said.
Yesterday the Peace Buzz, a peace caravan that aims to promote the culture of peace, understanding and unity across the country, arrived in the city.
In his remarks during a press conference, Dureza explained that various community-initiated activities will be conducted in areas where the Peace Buzz is scheduled to visit.
"This shows that the locality itself, the public and private sector, are as interested as the [national] government in the work for peace," Dureza said.
He said that that work for peace should not be exclusively a responsibility of government but more so, the responsibility of the private sector.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 30, 2017.
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