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Duterte: No more talks with the communists

Another 50 years of fighting


Peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) dimmed as President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday declared “No more talks with the communists”.

He also called on all communist leaders, who were released conditionally by the government to allow them to participate in the negotiations, to surrender
“You surrender and do not resist arrest,” Duterte urged. He said he will pursue their arrest after government deals with Marawi crisis if none of them will surrender.
“I will hunt you down,” Duterte warned in an interview at the sidelines of the 4th Davao Investment Conference.
The President gives another 50 years of fighting with the communists.
Speaking before the business sector during the 4th Davao Investment Conference at SMX Convention Center here on Friday, Duterte expressed his disappointment over latest pronouncements of the CPP over the declaration of martial law.
He said the communists had declared that the talks are not conducive under a situation of martial law.
I am only responding to what they are saying, he told reporters.
The President was also angered by the tag “bully” given to him by the CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison.
He also condemned continued fighting and killing of his soldiers.
On Wednesday, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) called off back channel talks after communist rebels attacked the security of Duterte in Arakan, North Cotabato.
“I am announcing the cancellation of backchannel talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF originally set within the next few days in Europe due to recent developments involving attacks done by the NPA,” Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said.
Dureza said the situation on the ground necessary to provide the desired enabling environment for the conduct of peace negotiations are still not present up to this time. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)



CPP-NPA-NDF in defiant, blatant and serious challenge vs. government

The government negotiating panel on May 27 Saturday afternoon (Manila time) pulled out from the fifth round-of-talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) citing the “blatant and serious challenge” by the communist group to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.

dureza bello 2In a statement read by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in a press conference in Noordwijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands, the government panel cited several other reasons why it withdrew.
One of major setback was the recent public statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordering the New People’s Army to accelerate and intensify attacks against the government following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao even if this was “principally directed at extremists and terrorists who openly and defiantly challenged the government and put to harm the Filipino people.”
“By such defiant, blatant and serious challenge by the CPP-NPA-NDF directed at the government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Dureza said referring to the CPP call to its armed unit.
This, despite all these gains in the work for peace and despite the personal show of goodwill and trust by the President, according to Dureza.
honeyletAmong the other reasons are the upscale of incidents of offensive attacks by the NPA nationwide; the seeming perception of the bigger public that the NPA operations are an open and public defiance of the President who has consistently accommodated them in unprecedented ways; the renewed surfacing of public apprehension questioning the sincerity of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the peace talks; the public admission of some panel members of the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders that they have no control over their forces on the ground.
Dureza also mentioned the sudden and perceptible erosion of public support to the peace talks, with strong messages received from the public to altogether stop peace negotiations and the clamor to pursue localized peace talks.
The panel has left without any recourse but not to proceed in the 5th round-of-talks until such time that “there are clear indications that an enabling environment conducive to achieving a just and sustainable peace,” Dureza stressed.
bird-of-peace1“We thank the Royal Norwegian Government which has so far steadfastly and fully supported our joint work for peace for so long. I trust it will understand why we at the Philippine Government side have arrived at the decision,” he added.
The 5th round of negotiations would have tackled the socioeconomic reform agenda. Both sides are also expected to tackle the parameters of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. (Lilian C. Mellejor with reports by Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)



Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza over the weekend said that “there is no ceasefire in place yet until enforceable grounds rules are agreed upon” by the negotiating panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Both parties had agreed on an Interim Joint Ceasefire (IJC).

However, the parties must set the ground rules to render it implementable.

Dureza explained that the guidelines should govern the presence of armed elements of either party in local communities, the designation of buffer zones, the definition of prohibited, hostile and provocative acts, and the possible creation of a neutral monitoring body.

Even as the ceasefire has yet to take effect, he said, the parties agreed to designate the Chief Negotiators Secretary Silvestre Bello III for GRP and Fidel Agcaoili for the NDFP to ensure a peaceful environment conducive to the continuation of the peace process.

According to Dureza, the Ceasefire Committee has commenced discussions on the ceasefire ground rules in the Netherlands and will continue without delay when the members of the committee return to the Philippines.

“The interim ceasefire shall become permanent when the Final Peace Agreement shall have been signed, which will usher the end of hostilities and disposition of forces,” Dureza said. (PNA)



“You can count on us, Mr. President”


Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari pledged support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s search for lasting peace in volatile Mindanao, during a historic meeting with the President in Malacanang on Thursday, November 3.

The President recognizes Misuari’s key role in bringing peace in Mindanao, for decades wracked by fighting between government troopers and Moro rebels that has killed thousands and displaced countless numbers of civilians.

Misuari, who launched a secessionist campaign for a Moro homeland in Mindanao in the late 60s, is the poster boy of the Bangsamoro struggle.

“It is with great happiness that I announce to the nation that Chairman Nur Misuari, our brother, has finally decided to accept my invitation for him to talk to us,” the President said in his welcome speech.

President Duterte invited fugitive Misuari for the Palace meeting with assurance of  safe passage.  

Misuari and several MNLF commanders are facing non-bailable charges of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.

The warrant for Misuari’s arrest has been suspended by the court on request of the President to allow the MNLF leader to meet with him to talk peace in Malacanang.

Upon the MNLF founder’s arrival at the Palace, President Duterte and Misuari met behind closed doors before facing the media.

mnlfThe MNLF, founded by Misuari in 1969, is the second biggest Moro group that has been fighting the government for autonomy for the Bangsamoro people, the now minority original settlers of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.

The government inked a peace pact two years ago with the other Moro group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group that broke away from the MNLF.

The Philippine Congress is now deliberating on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), that would create a new juridical entity covering Muslim-dominated parts of Mindanao. The Moro problem is seen as the biggest stumbling block to the development of the agriculture- and mineral-rich island where Moro militants have been fighting the Manila government for than five decades.

“I believe, as I said during the (election) campaign, there is one single man who can provide solutions to the problem of peace and order in our homeland of Mindanao,” said President Duterte in his speech at the simple welcome ceremony for Misuari.

The President won the May 2016 election with a landslide with a vow to end bureaucratic corruption and crime, and finding solutions to the Moro and communist insurgency problem, which hobbled the country’s march to progress and development.

Misuari and the MNLF, which already inked a peace pact with the government during the Cory Aquino presidency, do not acknowledge the government’s peace negotiation with the MILF. Davao City and then Mayor Duterte played key role in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF by hosting several Tripartite Conferences and Ministerial Meetings that led to the signing of the historic pact.

Misuari was the first Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that was created as an offshoot of the Final Peace Agreement.

Misuari’s meeting with the President is fresh air that could invigorate efforts to find lasting peace in Mindanao.

 “Allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and my promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” Misuari said in his speech  after he was warmly welcomed by President Duterte, his old friend.

dureza-misuariMisuari  emerged from his hide-out in Jolo, Sulu for the historic Malacanang meeting with the President after a court suspended for six months execution of an arrest warrant against him. He was fetched by  Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza who had a copy of the decision of a Pasig City court to suspend the arrest warrant against Misuari in connection with the 2013 siege.

In his speech, an elated Misuari thanked President Duterte for his temporary liberty, and described the President as the “man who I respect and trust.”

Help me create a “country that is really just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come, ” the President asked Misuari.

“I assure you, we will come up with the modality and then of course, how to place us in our proper homeland, our Mindanao, and that we will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority,” the President told Misuari.
The President reiterated to Misuari his election campaign commitment to bring peace and development to Mindanao, his advocacy for a shift to a federal form of government, and his promise to step down from the presidency after a federal government is established.

Duterte admitted that injustice has been done against the Bangsamoro people, but hoped to remedy this by working together with Misuari and the Bangsamoro.