THE Philippine government is set to restart stalled peace talks with communist rebels next month after the two sides iron out several “goodwill measures,” former chief negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said yesterday .
Exiled communist leader Joma Sison agreed to a “face to face meeting” with President Rodrigo Duterte, said Bello.
The government and rebels, however, have yet to agree on the negotiation’s venue and “goodwill measures” including the release of arrested communist consultants and a unilateral ceasefire that could take effect on December 20 or 21, he said.
“Kung maganda ang maging desisyon ng ating Pangulo, baka second or third week of January po,” Bello said of the formal resumption of peace talks.
(If the President decides, perhaps [the peace talks] may resume in the second or third week of January.)
Peace talks between the government and communist rebels deteriorated in 2017 due to alleged continuing rebel attacks on state troops. In November that year, the President signed a proclamation declaring the termination of peace negotiations.
Resumption of the peace talks was scheduled in late June last year but it was canceled as the government sought to review all agreements the communists signed with past administrations.
In December 2018, Duterte ordered the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”
The government also sought the declaration of the communist movement as a terrorist group.