THE Aquino administration will be forming two negotiating peace panels in line with the government’s desire to seal peace with various rebel groups in the country.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and newly-appointed Peace Process Adviser Teresita “Ging” Deles have decided to create two teams that will deal with insurgent groups, separately.
“There will be two negotiating peace panels—one for the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) and the other one is for the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” Lacierda said in a press briefing.
Each panel will have five members whom the Palace spokesperson declined to mention. He also refused to name who will head the negotiating teams.
He noted that Deles will not be part of the negotiating panel instead she will oversee the entire progression of the two groups.
“Ging Deles is an expert on peace process. I understand that she will not be part of the negotiating table. She will oversee the two peace panels," he said.
Lacierda said the President made clear about what he wanted to happen in Mindanao that he believed will lead to achieving peace in the province.
“The President has these four pillars of security: good governance, delivery of basic social services, economic recovery and security sector reform,” he related, citing that the panel will have a “macro-approach” in handling the peace process.
This means that apart from pursuing the peace agreement, the government will also ensure the security of every participant in the peace process including the solider, rebel, and the people in Mindanao.
“It’s also making sure that the area where the armed conflicts arise will be economically-sustained and all the developments should happen and should be focused as well,” he noted.
He noted that President Aquino did not set a timetable on when they needed to forge peace agreement with rebel groups but they are hoping to start their mission "in good faith".
“We want this peace process to start with no hindrance. So we hope that the CPP-NPA-NDF will exercise a measure of good faith as well,” he said.
Part of the duties of the peace panel includes studying peace agreements of the past administration and knowing the status of the peace process.
Malacanang has yet to decide if they will be seeking assistance from foreign countries regarding the peace process just like what former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)