Duterte, Sison agree to pursue peace process

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison had both agreed to move forward in pursuit of successful peace deal, MalacaƱang said on Wednesday.

In a statement sent to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that the President had talked to Sison over the phone to discuss the ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the communist group.

Abella described the two's conversation as mostly "between friends."

"Yes, it went through. It was mostly a conversation between friends," Abella said.

"No references were made to political issues. Both agreed on moving peace process forward," he added.

Sison, in a Facebook post, said he had a "friendly and productive" phone conversation with Duterte about advancing the peace talks.

The phone call happened at 2 a.m. Manila time, Tuesday.

Sison said that the unilateral ceasefire declarations of the two parties are still in effect during Christmas and New Year holidays.

He added that the bilateral ceasefire agreement and the release of prisoners can be settled when the third round of talks resumes in January.

"Bilateral ceasefire agreement and the amnesty and release of the political prisoners listed by the [National Democratic Front] can be discussed and agreed upon before, during, and even after the third round of formal talks in Rome from January 18 to 24," Sison said. (Sunnex)
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