National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants are ready for the second round of formal negotiations as they expressed optimism on the peace process between their group and the Rodrigo Duterte government.
In a press conference upon their arrival last September 3 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Loida Magpatoc and Vicente Ladlad said the first round of formal talks was smooth and successful.
The consultants said “the animosity and oversuspiciousness left by previous administrations” were absent in recently-concluded negotiations in Oslo, Norway.
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and NDFP panels agreed on and signed six issues, paving the way for the second round of the peace talks on October 8 to 12.
The second round of negotiations will focus on socio-economic reforms, a bilateral ceasefire between the GRP and the NDFP and general amnesty for more than 500 political detainees, the consultants said.
The consultants said they hope that Duterte will stay committed to his promise to release all political prisoners.
They also challenged the GRP to uphold its unilateral ceasefire declaration, which, according to them, is “the easiest type of ceasefire to violate.”
The consultants also said that in spite of their optimism, they are calling on the Filipino people to remain vigilant.
‘We must not become complacent because of our initial victories. We must further spread and strengthen our campaigns and struggle for nationalistic and democratic reforms and just and lasting peace,” the Tiamzons said.
Solidarity with Davao
The consultants also denounced the recent bombings in Davao City, saying they condemn terroristic violence that target civilians and non-combatants.
They however declined to comment on Duterte’s declaration of State of Lawlessness.
“We would like to wait for clearer terms of the declaration first,” Benito Tiamzon said.
Tiamzon said they hope that the declarationdoes not curtail freedoms of ordinary citizens. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)