DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday said the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) next week will focus on the signing of a joint ceasefire agreement between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a press briefing held yesterday in Camp Aguinaldo, Lorenzana said both parties would discuss the terms of a bilateral ceasefire deal taking into consideration the recommendations of the military.
He explained that as of press time there was no indication that an agreement would be signed “as the process will take a little longer than we expected but we are hoping that both parties will agree on bilateral agreement.”
“Wala pa naman itong sinasabing magpipirmahan na eh, because the process will take a little bit longer than we hope it will be,” he said.
The DND secretary said earlier AFP chief General Eduardo Año and Presidential peace adviser Jesus G. Dureza met recently to ask the DND and the military for inputs.
Lorenzana explained that unilateral ceasefire on the part of the AFP will not work because the other party allegedly keeps on making trouble in Mindanao.
The military wished the NPA would refrain from acts like extorting money from businessmen and burning facilities and buses while the peace talks are ongoing.
He added that such problems will get in the way of development in the conflict areas.