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Martial law may negatively affect peace talks

INSTANBUL, Turkey–President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to declare martial law over all of the Philippines will adversely affect his government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Jose Maria Sison, the group’s chief political consultant, said.

In an interview,  Sison said Duterte’s martial law declaration over the entire Mindanao may just be a trial balloon and his government may have plans to expand it to include all of the country.

“The martial law shall negatively affect the peace negotiations all the more if it is proclaimed throughout the Philippines after its apparent trial balloon in Mindanao,” Sison said,

“It will have the same bad effects if the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) would use martial law to try to scare (the NDFP) and force it to an interim joint ceasefire agreement ahead of a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms,” he added.

Sison’s predictions gained more ground yesterday after President Rodrigo Duterte announced upon his arrival from Russia it is possible he will extend his martial law declaration in Mindanao to Visayas and eventually to Luzon.

“I may decide to expand the area to include the Visayas because it is a walking distance actually,” Duterte said.

The President later said he is actually considering placing Luzon under military rule, saying Islamic State militants could already have gained foothold on the island.

The GRP and the NDFP are set to hold their fifth round of formal talks in Noordwijk Aan Zee from May 27 to June 2. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image courtesy of Malacañan Palace)