THE Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has agreed to extend "indefinitely" its unilateral ceasefire and to work for a joint declaration of truce with the Philippine government within 60 days.
In a joint statement issued Friday by the government and the NDF at the conclusion of the five-day formal peace talks in Norway, it said the CPP-NDF shall declare and issue an indefinite unilateral ceasefire order to the NPA and the people's militia when its own truce expires on Saturday.
"The aforesaid unilateral ceasefire shall be in response to President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire which was effective indefinitely from August 21, 2016," said the joint statement signed by the members of both panels led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for the government and Luis Jalandoni for the NDF, the political wing of the CPP-NPA.
Both sides also agreed to work through their respective ceasefire committees to reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a "single unified bilateral document within 60 days" subject to the approval of their respective principals.
With the planned joint truce, the government and the NDF agreed for the creation of a third party ceasefire monitoring and mediation to oversee the truce and the handling of complaints and alleged violations.
"The ceasefire agreement shall be deemed interim in relation to the outcomes of negotiations leading to a Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces," the joint statement said.
The government peace panel was also tasked to immediately recommend to the President the issuance of an Amnesty Program for the release of detained rebels who were charged for violation of the Revised Penal Code and other special laws in connection with alleged crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs. The Proclamation is subject to concurrence of Congress.
The parties also agreed to accelerate the peace process and set the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
The next round of formal negotiation is set on October 8-12 in Oslo.
The government and the NDF thanked Norway for its hospitality and in facilitating the talks. (SDR/Sunnex)