Peace talks on

PRESIDENTIAL Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza on Monday, April 16, bared that he respects the opinion of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on peace talks, but he also needs to do his job as ordered.

"We should respect the statements of Mayor Sara, because she knows also why she has to say it. It is democracy everyone is entitled to his opinion. She has the task to do as a mayor to protect the citizenry of Davao, I have the task also to follow the directive of the President to resume negotiations but we are not against each other in fact we welcome those statements because it also provides perhaps a more vigilant environment as we continue the negotiations," he said.

On Monday, during the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Annual Plenary Session at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, Dureza said that a clear directive was given to him.

"The President said that we have to start resuming negotiations within 60 days, not finish an agreement, because that will take a long time," he said.

Dureza said that they are "back on track" but there were a lot of confidential things that happened that he does not want to disclose publicly yet.

He said these negotiations will be a "quiet one" having learned from their past experience.

Dureza said there will be no public announcements of outcomes unless some very important agreements have been arrived at because this is their last chance.

"As we speak, efforts are ongoing, now but we would like keep everything from the public until outcomes already are done. 'Di ba dati peace negotiations, before we take off and travel, we announce that 'we are going there to meet with them' and then eventually people would just be frustrated and come back home," he said.

Dureza said in doing peace negotiations is about trying to find a convergence point from two very divergent positions.

"We continuously meet and find where we could meet halfway," he said.

Dureza said in previous talks that were ceased, they have already agreed that the government will jointly work with rebels using the MILF template for development projects so that there will be some development even the negotiation are still ongoing.

"We have appointed already the former chair, Luis Jalandoni to be the head of that group. We welcomed it and already accepted but we cancelled because of activities on the ground like some armed incidents. We are back, hoping we can pick up the pieces again… It is the specific order of the president that it is okay to resume but this will be the last and we have to quickly come up with an agreement,” he said.

Dureza hopes that as they resume there will be a quicker pace of the outcomes they want to happen in the peace negotiations.

He also said as to whether or not the terrorist tag will be removed, that is still yet to be known depending on the course of the negotiations.

"We'll find out on how we were going to deal with that as the negotiations resume, we cannot just decide on our own what to do with it. We'll have to deal with them on that issue while we negotiate with them," Dureza added.
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