PRRD wants more military men in new peace panel

By Azer Parrocha

April 15, 2019, 4:10 pm

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he is considering the creation of a new peace panel despite his earlier pronouncement to permanently end talks with members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Duterte, in his speech during a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on Saturday (April 13), said he wants the new peace panel to have at least three representatives from the military.

“I abolished the peace panel too. It’s been three years but I wasn’t even able to achieve anything. So I’ll look for another way and new people to talk to. Maybe one, two, or three from the military, and… Maybe around five -- two civilians and three from the military,” Duterte said in Bisaya.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a Palace briefing Monday, explained that although Duterte announced the permanent termination of peace talks, he has always kept a “window” of opportunity.

“The President has always made himself open to any talks on peace. Ever since, sinasabi niya yun. Di ba sabi niya ‘bigyan natin ng konting window’ (he has been saying that. Remember, he said, ‘let’s give them a small window of opportunity’),” Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, shrugged off the recent statement of CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison that Duterte would only be creating a “war panel” by including military representatives.

Sison, in a TV interview, also said that the National Democratic Front (NDF), its political wing, will not recognize the new peace panel.

“It doesn’t matter whether he likes it or not. We will ignore him,” Panelo said, stressing that communist rebels no longer listened to him.

Panelo, however, clarified that the President’s plan to form a new peace panel remains an “idea.”

“Wala pa siyang kini-create (He hasn’t created anything yet). It’s still an idea,”

He also said that localized peace talks will continue.

The localized peace talk setup allows local government units to take charge in conducting the negotiations while the military would provide security to the participants and rebels interested in surrendering. (PNA)