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Gov’t postpones resumption of talks with Reds – OPAPP

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Thursday said the resumption of peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has been postponed to allow the public to engage more in the peace process.

“The decision for the moment is not to resume talks yet,” Dureza said in a Palace press briefing.

Dureza said President Rodrigo Duterte, during the joint military and police command conference Wednesday night, gave the instruction to engage the general public as well as other stakeholders “in our common effort to make sure that we achieve a conducive and enabling environment for peace.”

“Consequently, the initial timeline that our backchannel team had worked on with their counterparts (CPP/NPA/NDF) ‘across the table’ had to be necessarily re-adjusted,” Dureza said.

Recently, Duterte said talks with the Reds may resume in July while National Democratic Front political consultant Jose Maria Sison said resumption might happen between June 28 to 30 in Oslo, Norway.

“Our peace efforts to succeed should have good support from the general public hence it is necessary that all efforts be exerted to inform and engage them in the same way as the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict,” Dureza said.

He said it is important that the “last chance” to put a dignified closure to the armed rebellion will not be squandered away.

“It is equally important that the stakeholders on the ground must also be equally engaged through consultations to ensure that all those consensus points and agreements forged in the negotiations table have palpable support from them,” the peace adviser said.

“We are now at the cusp of some major breakthroughs in the peace talks hence the urgent need now to take deliberate steps to ensure that we do not falter,” he added.

Dureza said the CPP-NPA-NDF peace negotiators were already informed of the postponement of the resumption of peace talks.

“Enabling environment is something that will convince the government to push through with the peace talks,” he said, noting the government intends to hold a public consultation similar to what it has been doing with the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao.

“Just, sustainable and lasting peace will happen only when our people understand and support these efforts,” Dureza said.#