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Saturday July 21, 2018
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Duterte to sign EO allowing localized peace talks

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign an executive order (EO) allowing the conduct of the localized peace talks with the communists rebels, Malacañang said Thursday, July 12.

The proposed EO, which will enumerate seven guidelines for the localized peace initiatives, is the product of consensus among security, justice and peace committees during a special cluster meeting convened by the President on Wednesday, July 11.

"So magkakaroon po ng executive order that will spell out the guidelines that were agreed upon yesterday," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. told a press conference.

(So there will be an executive order that will spell out the guidelines that were agreed upon yesterday.)

The government sought localized peace talks with the communist guerillas, after the Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison called off the planned revival of talks.

On June 28, Sison decided that the communist movement would no longer pursue a peace dialogue under the Duterte administration and would instead participate in an ouster plan against the President.

Sison's decision stemmed from the government peace panel's announcement on June 21 that the resumption of talks would be delayed, as Duterte wanted a three-month review of the existing peace agreements and a public consultation.

Roque said the localized peace talks would be between the local peace channel and the leadership of the local communist fighters.

He said the "substantive" agenda of the localized talks would be based on the medium-term Philippine Development Plan that will lead to the accomplishment of the country's long-term development vision dubbed "Ambisyon Natin 2040."

The Palace official said it was agreed that the localized talks should be "nationally orchestrated, centrally directed and locally supervised and implemented."

The proposed dialogue in insurgency-affected areas can only push through, if the constitutional integrity and sovereignty "will not be compromised," he said.

He also emphazised that there should be a "complete and genuine resolution of the armed conflict," covering the New People's Army (NPA), organs of political power, and Militia ng Bayan.

On the government's part, it should have a goodwill and provide a full amnesty package based on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration to the mainstream of the society, he added.

"There is a local peace package, direct availment of the [government's] peace initiatives intended to provide the reintegration and mainstreaming support without going through process of peace negotiation," Roque said.

"[There is also] confidential dialogue undertaken to a combatant armed group who desires to lie low without open documentation and will not avail of the peace package program," he added.

Roque stressed that the state's constitutional mandate to protect public safety, civil and welfare, critical infrastructure, and private properties, and the guarantee of rule of law and order "will not be compromised at all times," if there is a ceasefire.

He also noted that the "enabling government" set by Duterte for the formal local negotiations with the communist guerillas are "local venue; no coalition government or power sharing; no revolutionary taxes, extortion, arson and violent activities; and the fighter to remain in their pre-designated encampment areas." (SunStar Philippines)


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