Jan 052015

The Philippine government does not want talks with communist rebels to drag on without progress, a Palace spokesman said Monday at the prospect of a return to the peace table.

“We don’t want to go back to the situation where the talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army- National Democratic Front) would not be time-bound and are not doable. So those are the things that we’re looking for,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing.

NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison last month said the CPP was open to resuming peace negotiations with the Philippine government which ended in July last year. He added that the government should release NDF consultants and 500 political prisoners to pave the way for the talks but Malacañang earlier turned down a call to release supposed communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Lacierda said that at present “there are friends of the (peace) process who are channeling back and forth to see if there is a possibility of restarting the peace process.”

“We’d rather have peace than war. And we have proven our sincerity insofar as starting a peace dialogue. We’ve proven that in MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” he added.

He, however, questioned the sincerity of the NDF in resuming talks after NPA rebels killed government troops before the year ended.

“They cannot just rationalize the fact that just because our ceasefire was only for certain days, we can go and kill soldiers with impunity. If your spirit is to negotiate, if your spirit is to start the peace process then it behooves you to make sure that the people on the ground are also earnestly seeking the restarting or the resumption of the peace talks,” he said.

Lacierda adedd: “Are they serious? Are these all just media mileage for them? We’ve always stated that we are willing to discuss peace…Do they want peace as what Mr. Joma Sison has mentioned? Or do they want to continue the status quo as what the CPP-NPA stated.”

He reiterated that the government is willing to resume the talks but “only if they are time-bound and doable.”

“We have always said that we are open to resuming talks provided that we avoid the mistakes of the past. And I think that’s not unreasonable request,” he said.  — JDS, GMA News

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