The Daily Manila Shimbun


Philippine negotiators “ready to engage the NDF” in third round of talks

January 14, 2017

The Philippine government’s chief negotiator in its talks with the National Democratic Front said they “are all set and ready to engage the NDF in the discussions of all substantive agenda” when negotiations resume on January 19-15 in Rome.

Chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III on Monday will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte  draft documents that will be tabled for discussion during the third round of peace talks.

In a statement, Bello said the agenda includes ” supplemental agreements needed to proceed and arrive at a peaceful negotiated political settlement to end the armed conflict in the country.

The government panel will pay a courtesy call to the president in Malacañang before leaving Monday evening.

Among the documents to be submitted to the president are draft agreements and principles for social and economic reforms (CASER), comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms and comprehensive agreement on end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

Bello said he is confident major breakthroughs will be achieved.

Bello, also labor secretary, explained that government is all set to sign a supplemental agreement on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which will include an expanded role of the  Joint Monitoring Committee.

“And we are challenging the NDF to formalize the unilateral ceasefire with a bilateral ceasefire agreement to give our communities and combatants a more secure environment for the peace process,” Bello added.

The main group of government delegation leaves for Rome on Tuesday, January 17 for the opening the following Thursday.

Peace negotiations with the NDF were resumed in August after more than five years of impasse following the election of Duterte. DMS