NDFP to Duterte on talks resumption: ‘We have always been open’

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel said it remains open to resume formal peace negotiations with the Rodrigo Duterte government.

Reacting to Duterte’s statement Friday he still has to talk to the New People’s Army (NPA), NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili told Kodao the revolutionary movement is also open to reviving formal talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

The NPA is an allied organization of the NDFP.

“The NDFP has always been open to continue with the fifth round of the formal talks, which he scuttled in May 2017,” Agcaoili said.

Duterte hinted peace talks with the NDFP might soon be revived in a speech at Cagayan de Oro City’s Laguindingan International Airport Friday.

“Ideology ‘to. So I’m facing that. I have to talk to the NPA still,” Duterte said after ticking off a list of problems he said he is facing.

The Duterte GRP cancelled the fifth round of formal negotiations last May after failing to secure an open-ended bilateral ceasefire agreement with the NDFP.

The NDFP said the GRP demand was a precondition violating The Hague Joint Declaration that says cessation of hostilities shall come after social and economic as well as political and constitutional reforms agreements have already been agreed and signed by both parties.

Negotiators from both the NDFP and GRP said they are ready to sign agrarian reform and rural development agreements, including free distribution of at least one million hectares of land to poor farmers, when the fifth round of formal negotiations are finally held. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)