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Peace talks to proceed – Dureza

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said that the resumption of peace talks between the government and communist rebels will proceed as planned even if the ceasefire is lifted.

Formal negotiations between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front is set to begin this month in Oslo, Norway.

“Who is saying it is not pushing through? We have scheduled it August 20 up to August 27. So we are pushing through with this as originally scheduled,” Dureza said in an interview over State-run Radyo ng Bayan.

He stressed that “it will not in any way affect the peace talks” should President Duterte lift the unilateral ceasefire that he declared during his first State-of-the-Nation Address last Monday.

Last Friday, the President gave the CPP-NPA up to 5 p.m. yesterday to reciprocate and explain why there was an infraction of the unilateral ceasefire which he initiated.

Duterte gave the ultimatum following the NPA attack in Davao Del Norte that left one government militiaman dead and four others wounded.

“Alam naman natin even when we agreed to resume peace negotiations we have tabled as an agenda item the discussion on the interim ceasefire. At the time we did not even consider that unilateral ceasefire will be called by the President in the SoNA,” according to Dureza. (Elena L. Aben)