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Duterte wants clear parameters for peace talks

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President Duterte has pushed for the establishment of “clear parameters” on the resumption of the peace talks between the government and communist rebel group and the reinstatement of the ceasefire.

The President issued the call to ensure a smooth peace process with the National Democratic Front (NDF) during the recent closed-door meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) executive committee in Malacañang.

“The President acknowledged the Joint Statement of the GPH and the NDF peace panels on the intent to resume formal peace talks. To ensure that genuine peace talks are realized, the President asked both Panels to agree on clear parameters for ceasefire and the talks,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Abella said the President was “quite insistent” on having the clear parameters since there were no framework in the past. “Having set the parameters, they should act in a circumspect manner and act within those parameters,” he added.

The President earlier agreed to jumpstart the peace talks with the communist rebels, saying he wanted to end the “slaughter” of Filipinos.

“I just gave my orders to start talking. There is no concrete proposal, there’s not even a list of what should be taken up,” Duterte said in a Palace press conference last Monday. “Because as a Filipino, I am still interested to prevent a slaughter by a Filipino to a Filipino,” he added.

Duterte also described an ideology, like a revolution, as a “cannibal thing.“It is really a cannibalistic ideology itong revolution. Why? Because you devour your own kind. You devour the children and the children and the sons of daughters of Filipinos,” he said.

The government and the communist group recently agreed to resume the talks a month after the President called off the negotiations. They also agreed to reinstate a ceasefire before the next round of talks in April.

The President had earlier suspended the negotiations in protest of the New People’s Army attacks on government troops. He was also dismayed by the unreasonable demand to release all political prisoners even ahead of a final peace pact.

Abella, speaking to reporters, admitted the latest NPA attack on troops add “stress and burden” to the peace talks but the government will let the rebel leadership deal with their men on the ground.

“Between the parties that are willing to resume talks, there seems to be, they’re establishing mutual trust and those are, the activities on the ground are certainly very, they add stress and burden to the talks ,” he said.