Davao mayor: Localized peace talks to continue

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the direction of the national government to cancel all plans for peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front/New People's Army (CPP/NPA/NDF) will not have an effect to the localized peace talks facilitated by the Davao City Peace Committee (DC-Peace) in the city.

"Walang effect ang direction sa national government with regards to the cancellation of peace talks between GRP and CPP/NPA/NDF because the basis of the work of DC-Peace is the general welfare clause of the local government code. Hindi naman incompatible yung trabaho namin at tsaka trabaho ng National Government, all the more na hindi siya incompatible ngayon na hindi na sila mag-pursue ng peace talks," she said in a press conference on Thursday, November 23, at Marco Polo Hotel.

She said there will be no cancellation of the DC-Peace's efforts to talk with the communist group except only if there is already an official document of the terrorist tag coming from the office of the President.

"So far walang ganun na official document, lahat ng nasabi are just verbal pronouncement of the president so legally we can still continue to negotiate and talk, if they still want to talk with DC-Peace," she said.

She said if the president will officially release the document, she will ask DC-Peace to convene and discuss the effects of the official document.

"We will get back to you with regards to the reaction of DC-Peace to that matter," the mayor said.

Duterte-Carpio, in a press conference last Monday, November 20, said the DC-Peace has recommended for a temporary ceasefire between the New People's Army and government forces.

Duterte-Carpio said the ceasefire is still in a form of recommendation from DC-Peace, which had no military component and she is still deciding whether to uphold the committee's recommendation.

She also announced that the DC-Peace intends to go to hinterland areas of the city this December to conduct activities that will forward their goal.

Currently the DC-Peace is composed of Davao City Social Services and Development Office head Maria Luisa Bermudo, Davao City Legal Office representative lawyer Elisa Lapiña, Archbishop Romulo Valles, Barangay Malabog Chief Jessielito Areja and Retired Judge Ridgway Tanjili who sits as the committee chair.

The DC-Peace Committee is given a year to conduct fruitful talks with the NPAs.
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