Dureza: Peace talks with communists to resume in August; Jailed communist officials may be released soon

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(File photo) An NPA rebel base somewhere in a jungle in Mindanao. Before entering the base area all outsiders including foreign journalists have to remove the batteries from their cellphones.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Formal peace talks with the communist National Democratic Front will resume on August 20 to 27, President Rodrigo Duterte’s peace adviser said Tuesday.

The talks were initially scheduled to begin in the third week of July in Oslo, Norway, but Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said they had to postpone the meeting to give time to work on the request by the NDF to release detained rebel leaders who will participate in the negotiations.

The NDF is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It represents the party in negotiations to end the 47-year-old insurgency waged by the New People’s Army — the CPP's armed wing.

Dureza said President Duterte has already ordered the Department of Justice and other concerned agencies to work on the "temporary release" of the jailed rebel leaders.

The government is eyeing their release before the start of the talks.

He said Duterte wants "legal procedures to be closely followed," including court approval of the release of those facing charges.

"They have to face these charges later on,” Dureza said of those in detention. “Now, depende sa outcome ngayon ng (it depends on the outcome of the) negotiations, because it's possible that in the outcome of the negotiations, there might possibly be an amnesty. Who knows?" Dureza said.

New measure to replace BBL

Dureza also confirmed that the previously filed Bangsamoro Basic Law will no longer be pursued.

Instead, he said a new measure will be crafted primarily through the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which was created through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The CAB was signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 2014.

It is a landmark peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front after 17 years of negotiations between the two parties.

"This will be a new enabling law and it will probably be called a new enabling law — but it stems from the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsmoro of the MILF," Dureza said.

Dureza said that the new measure will be in accordance with the CAB and will accommodate inputs of several Moro groups — not just the MILF. They will also include proposals from the Moro National Liberation Front, the Muslim Sultanates, the indigenous peoples and even possibly from representatives of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Dureza said government lawyers are also working on the possible suspension of the warrant issued for the arrest of MNLF leader Nur Misuari.

Misuari remains a fugitive for his alleged involvement in the Zamboanga City siege in September 2013. More than 200 people were killed during sporadic fighting over nearly three weeks.