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Gov’t, NDF set to declare ‘more stable’ unilateral ceasefire – Jalandoni

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/21/2017 Jimenez, Raffy
At a forum on the ongoing peace talks, National Democratic Front chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said 75 percent of farmers need genuine land reform, adding it is one way of addressing armed conflict in the country. Danny Pata © Danny Pata At a forum on the ongoing peace talks, National Democratic Front chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said 75 percent of farmers need genuine land reform, adding it is one way of addressing armed conflict in the country. Danny Pata

The government panel and the National Democratic Front are set to declare a “more stable” unilateral ceasefire before the resumption of the peace talks in April, NDFP consultant Luis Jalandoni said Monday.

“Both sides will declare unilateral ceasefires at the same time,” Jalandoni told ANC television in an interview.

“Maybe on March 31 and April 1 both sides will declare unilateral ceasefire that will be more stable than the unilateral ceasefire before,” he said. 

The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-NDF announced on February 1 the termination of the unilateral ceasefire it declared August last year following alleged failure of Duterte administration to fulfill its promise to release all political prisoners. 

The government side took back its unilateral ceasefire days later and then President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks on February 4, citing ceasefire violations by the NPA. 

The peace negotiations, its fourth round, will resume next month following successful backchannel talks in Utrecht on March 10 to 11.

Jalandoni said they are optimistic with the resumption of talks that they even sent a note declaring their appreciation to Duterte for “agreeing to the continuation of the peace talks based on the gains achieved during the last three rounds of talks and both sides in a backchannelling talks.”

He said talks will tackle social and economic reforms including the agreement on free distribution of land to the farmers agreed upon in Rome on January 25. 

“It is a very  big opportunity which we think is to be credited to President Duterte and the  national leadership of NDF-CPP-NPA,” he said. 

He said the NDF believes that under the present administration, there is a unique opportunity to address the roots of armed conflict; carry out land reform, national industrialization, also political and constitutional  reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces; and achieve a just and lasting peace. 

“That would be a tremendous legacy of President Duterte and the national leadership of CPP-NPA-NDF for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said. 

On the health condition of CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, Jalandoni said the former is now feeling better and preparing to participate in the next round of talks.

“Jose Ma. Sison si 78. He made a statement that he is ill for some time. It (Sison’s medical condition) is something that the doctors are trying to find out but he feels better now and he is ready to participate,” he said. 

He said the doctors in The Netherlands are having a hard time diagnosing Sison’s illness. 

“The doctors find it difficult to really diagnose. Maybe Filipino doctors are better in diagnoses than those in Netherlands, they have some difficulty,” he said. 

“But now he is getting better and he is preparing to participate in the peace talks in the fourth round. He will be there also with Fidel Agcaoili, Julie Delima, and Benito and Wilma Tiamzon. They will be there,” he said. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News

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