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Communists still want peace talks

Communist guerrillas said yesterday they want to proceed with peace talks that President Duterte has scrapped but that reimposing a ceasefire would be difficult if the military keeps on violating the truce.

The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), should be strengthened and keep its arms even after a comprehensive peace agreement is signed between the government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

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The government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) hope to conclude their peace talks as quickly as possible and implement it “while he (President Duterte) is still the president of the country,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said last Friday at a forum with European ambassadors.

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Peace negotiations between the Philippine government and National Democratic Front encountered rough waters Friday, as both parties tried to vigorously advance their conflicting stands on the release of political prisoners, a permanent general ceasefire, and the adoption of social and economic reforms.

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Lines were drawn right at the start of the second round of the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front and the Philippine Government Thursday night, with the communist group asking for the immediate release of 409 political prisoners and the latter seeking a joint and lasting ceasefire agreement.

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The National Democratic Front announced Wednesday that it has accepted the resignation of Luis Jalandoni as chairman of its peace panel, replacing him with vice chairman Fidel Agcaoili just hours ahead of the start of the second round of peace negotiations here.

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