CPP, NDFP welcome possible resumption of peace talks

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(L-R) Pres. Rody Duterte, Joma Sison

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8) — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its negotiating arm National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) welcome the possible reopening of talks with the government.

"The parties have proven time and again at different junctures that they can actually meet minds under mutually acceptable terms as a product of bilateral negotiations," NDFP legal counsel Edre Olalia said in a statement Sunday.

While Olalia recognized that peace talks would not be easy, he added progress can be made in a negotiation and resolution that is a "fair, two-sided, even meticulous if not tedious process."

The CPP, meanwhile, said they remain open to negotiations that seek solutions to the roots of armed conflict.

In a statement Saturday, the CPP called on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), mainly to protect civilian population in the course of an armed conflict, and a presidential amnesty proclamation to release all political prisoners.

The CPP said it had full confidence in the NDFP to represent the causes of the left in the negotiations.

However, the CPP maintains that people must "continue to wage all-out resistance and mount organized protest actions" to let the government know of their demands.

It also supports the NDFP's position that there should be no preconditions in the resumption of peace talks.

In a press conference Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said if the communists are ready to accept the conditions set by President Rodrigo Duterte, then peace talks can continue.

"So iyang mga hinihingi naman nilang iyan, puwedeng doon na sa kasunduan mismo ipasok. So sa akin po hindi hadlang iyan doon sa pagbubukas muli ng peace talks," he added.

[Translation: The things they are asking for can be included in the agreement itself. For me, it isn't a means of stopping the reopening of peace talks.]

On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte said the government and the CPP-NDFP have 60 days to restart the peace talks.

He also said he would spend for the cost of the resumption.

"You can go all out, all of you. Nothing will happen. But if we fail, I'll start collecting. Sigurado yan [that's for sure]," Duterte said.

The President previously said a halt to revolutionary taxes and a cease to armed hostilities by the CPP's armed wing New Peopls's Army (NPA) were among the conditions he wanted met before peace talks were to resume.

The talks were suspended in November, following a series of attacks by the communist rebels.

The Norwegian government on February 16 committed to assist in the peace talks between the government and the rebels.

The CPP's insurgency has lasted for almost 50 years and is dubbed as Asia's longest running armed struggle.