DND: Localized peace talks with Reds more flexible

By Priam Nepomuceno

July 5, 2018, 2:53 pm

MANILA -- The Department of National Defense (DND) said it strongly supports calls for peace talks with communist rebels but wanted it held at the local level.

Arsenio Andolong, DND spokesperson, in an interview on Thursday, said the local level peace dialogues are more flexible as negotiating with ranking communist leaders like Jose Maria "Joma" Sison and his company will not progress.

"We believe that we will move forward with local peace talks bale in short yung peace talks na talking with Sison, et al, will not progress, we are in favor of peace talks but at that level, mas magiging flexible (yung talks in) theory," Andolong said.

Earlier, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the doors for the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front remain open but this is based on the wishes of President Rodrigo Duterte that there will be no coalition government and there will be a halt in the collection of the so-called revolutionary tax.

President Duterte also wanted the talks held in the country and that there should be a ceasefire agreement, in which, armed NPA members are encamped in designated areas.

In the meantime, localized peace arrangements may be pursued by local government units with insurgents in their respective areas of responsibility.

This “way forward” in the stalled peace talks was decided following the consolidation of various positions expressed during the command conference convened by Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday night.

The Chief Executive also expressed his wish that Norway continues as facilitator in the event peace talks are resumed. (PNA)