By Joann Santiago
This was the assessment made by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza after the first panel meeting between the negotiators of the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) on the on-going peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
Dureza’s statement was shown by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to journalists through Viber video.
Philippine peace panel chairman Jesus Dureza (third from left) leads the representatives of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte in laying the agenda for the resumption of formal talks with the National Democratic Front led by panel chairman Luis Jalandoni. Also in photo are (from left) former congressman Hernani Braganza, incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Ambassador Elisabeth Slatum, Special Envoy of the Royal Norwegian Government to the Philippine Peace Process; NDF panel member Fidel Agcaoili and CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, who signed as NDF Chief Political Consultant. (Photo courtesy of Hernani Braganza)
Earlier in the day, OPAPP said panel and committee level meetings between the two parties were simultaneously done to fast track negotiations as President Rodrigo R. Duterte bids to reach a final peace agreement within six months to a year.
The meetings are being held at the Scandic Holmenkollen Park Hotel in Oslo, Norway.
Topics discussed during the first day of the meetings were the affirmation of previously-signed agreements; accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks – – socio-economic reforms, political and economic reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces; and reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list.
OPAPP said among the documents expected to be re-affirmed by both parties include The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, Breukelen Joint Statement of 1994, the JASIG, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The GPH is represented to the meeting by government negotiators that include former Agrarian Reform Secretary Hernani Braganza, former Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, and lawyers Angela Librado-Trinidad and Antonio Arellano.
NDF chairman Luis Jalandoni heads the other side along with Fidel Agcaoili, Connie Ledesma, Asterio Palima, and Juliet de Lima-Sison.
Negotiators from both sides have been tasked to supervise simultaneous discussions of the Reciprocal Working Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) , the Reciprocal Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and End of Hostilities-Disposition of Forces (EOH-DOF).
OPAPP said Braganza was assigned to supervise the CASER committee, Sarmiento for PCR, and Arellano and Librado for EOH-DOF.
Also, Royal Norwegian Government Special Envoy for the Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum and her staff served as third party facilitators in moderating the panel and committee discussions. (PNA)
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