CPP lauds the incoming Duterte government's peace efforts

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(File photos). (L) Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); (R) incoming President Rodrigo Duterte

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — In a rare expression of optimism regarding the prospects for the peace negotiations, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has congratulated and lauded the next administration for its commitment to find a solution to the decades-old armed conflict.

The CPP praised the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for “vigorously pursuing” talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), even before formally assuming office. The NDFP is the political arm of the CPP, which represents the rebels in the talks.

“The CPP and all revolutionary forces expect peace negotiations with the Duterte regime to move forward with unprecedented speed,” the CPP said in a statement over the weekend following the June 13-14 preliminary talks between the NDFP and Duterte’s peace panel in Oslo, Norway. The statement was made public Wednesday.

The CPP said it was looking forward to forging agreements with the incoming government and “attain historic achievements” in the peace process.

The CPP said the incoming Duterte government’s attitude toward the peace talks was a “big departure” from the administrations of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.

“Under the previous two regimes, peace negotiations were regarded mainly as a psywar operation that was secondary to and served only the counter-revolutionary war of suppression,” the CPP said.

Founded on December 26, 1968 by university professor Jose Maria Sison, the CPP aims to overthrow the government and replace it with a “national democratic” state. It formed the New People’s Army (NPA), its armed wing, the following year.

Also read: NPA turns over more hostages to Duterte

After the talks faltered under Arroyo, the government and the NDFP resumed negotiations under Aquino in 2011, but the talks stalled again when the two sides disagreed on the release of rebel leaders, particularly those considered consultants in the talks.

After over five years, Duterte, a self-described socialist, is bringing renewed hope for a possible peace deal. He reached out to the rebels even before officially assuming the presidency, and sent a peace delegation to Oslo, Norway, to talk with the NDFP. Norway has been brokering the talks.

Related: Duterte readies for Philippine peace talks restart as rebel team arrives

After the preliminary talks, the two panels signed a joint statement to resume formal peace talks on the third week of July.

The CPP said it “fully supports” plans to accelerate the negotiations, and is pleased that the incoming peace panel will recommend the release of detained NDFP consultants to allow them to participate in the talks.

Both parties also agreed to discuss the reconstitution of the list of NDFP consultants and rebel leaders who can freely move around the Philippines without the risk of being arrested under the Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).

“Their plan to recommend the release of political prisoners on humanitarian grounds is also highly commendable,” the CPP said.

Watch: Duterte seeks general amnesty for political prisoners

The CPP also welcomed discussions on the possible implementation of an interim ceasefire between government forces and the NPA, which has waged a 47-year-old armed struggle.

Duterte administration’s chief peace negotiator and incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said a truce is possible before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address on July 25.