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Go says Duterte wants peace pact signed in PH

January 25, 2020 - Saturday 6:01 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image PEACE TALKS. President Rodrigo Duterte greets former rebels before distributing their benefits during a ceremony at the San Isidro Central School in Leyte on January 23, 2020. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go says Duterte wants any peace agreement with the communists to signed in the country. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DAVAO CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte wants any peace agreement arrived at between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to signed in the country.

This was confirmed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go in a statement, saying the President “remains open to peace talks with the communists.”

“Si Pangulo naman ay bukas po sya sa usaping pangkapayapaan,” he said.

(The President is open to any talk that will result in peace.)

Go, however, said the President wants the peace agreement to be signed in the Philippines between him and CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison.

KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“Gusto niyang one-on-one sila. Dito nila pirmahan ‘yung peace agreement, sila lang dalawa. Sila naman pareho ang pinuno ng... siya ang Pangulo tapos si Joma naman ang pinuno ng Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said. 

(He wants it to be one-on-one [with Sison]. The peace agreement will be signed here, just between the two of them. They are the respective heads… he is the President while Joma is the head of the Communist Party of the Philippines.)

Asked about the status of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III trip to the Netherlands to explore the potential reopening of peace negotiations with Sison, Go said that he will have to check on it.

President Duterte salutes a military officer upon his arrival at the San Isidro Central School to lead the distribution of benefits to former rebels in Leyte on January 23, 2020. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MindaNews had reported on December 9, 2019 that Bello, government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) until President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks two years ago, had arrived in Utrecht, The Netherlands on December 7 for the President’s “last card” for peace.

Bello told MindaNews in a telephone interview Sunday that he arrived in Utrecht and had initial talks with NDF representatives led by Sison, Fidel Agcaoili and Luis Jalandoni and were continuing the discussions the following day.

No other details have emerged about Bello’s meetings ever since.

Go emphasized that he is “all for peace talks,” citing the holiday ceasefire between the government and the communist rebels as an example for how lasting peace could positively impact the lives of Filipinos.

“Noong Disyembre po ay napatunayan natin na nagkaroon sila ng ilang araw na ceasefire, December 23 hanggang January 7, ay nakita naman natin na mas tahimik ang buhay ng mga Pilipino,” he said. 

(Last December we proved that when they had a ceasefire from December 23 to January 7, the lives of the Filipinos were really more peaceful.)

Still, Go said some things still need to be ironed out between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“May mga dapat pang ayusin, pag-usapan, at siguro ay tuluy-tuloy naman po ‘yung pakikipag-usap ni Secretary Bello along with Nani Braganza,” he said.

(There are things that need to be taken care of first, and then the talks with Secretary Bello and [government negotiator Hernani] Braganza can continue.)

VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

End the conflict
On Thursday, the President called on the NPA to consider the future of their children and finally put an end to the decades-long armed rebellion in the country.
 
"Let's stop the armed conflict. Have mercy on your children," the President said as he addressed active members of the NPA during the distribution of government assistance packages to at least 33 former NPA rebels and 229 Militia ng Bayan in Southern Leyte.  

Duterte said the generational cycle of violence perpetrated by the communist rebels must come to an end.

He also said the country’s youth must be educated in order to protect from the influence of the communists, who he said use armed violence to promote their outdated cause.

"What's important is for your children to have quality education… We cannot solve the problem of the Philippines by revolution...It has to be by evolution," he said.

Addressing the NPA, whom he called his “brothers and sisters,” Duterte said the Philippines “could have been highly developed if not because of your violence.”

This photo taken on July 30, 2017 shows New People's Army (NPA) members in formation in the Sierra Madre mountain range. Noel CELIS / AFP

Duterte said the government is ready to help members of the communist group reintegrate themselves into mainstream society through programs under Executive Order 70 which institutionalized a “Whole-Of-Nation” approach.

He said through EO 70, the administration is carrying out initiatives to directly address the roots of the insurgency in the country.
 

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