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Gov’t reaches out to Mindanao forces

WITH the Duterte administration now engaged in talks with the three major armed groups in Mindanao, peace prospects in the region are brighter than ever.

About 50 political prisoners – mostly women, elderly, sick, and long-term detainees – could be set free in the coming weeks as part of the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front.

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PRESIDENT Duterte called on the nation’s military personnel to remain faithful to the Republic in an address before Philippine Marines at Fort Bonifacio last Tuesday. He was evidently concerned that his recent moves with regard to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), his caustic remarks on United States (US) President Obama, and his coming visits to China and Russia may be misinterpreted in some quarters and lead to unexpected military action.

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The Philippine National Police Criminal-Investigation and Detection Group arrested a top leader of the New People’s Army in a follow-up operation in Cebu City Friday, police reported yesterday.

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National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were released yesterday from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, so they could participate in the peace talks between the government and the rebel group.

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EIGHTEEN detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) have been granted bail to enable them to join the formal peace talks with the Philippine government in Oslo, Norway, next week. The 18, along with two others covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), were released after the Solicitor General filed petitions with the Supreme Court which directed the lower courts concerned to give priority to hearings on motions for bail.

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